Tributes paid to Thorley Taverns founder and charity benefactor Frank Thorley

Frank Thorley presenting a trophy for the Ramsgate Boxing Club awards last December

A swell of tributes have been paid following sad news of the death of founder of Thorley Taverns pubs Frank Thorley, aged 87, today (March 22)

The Thanet businessman has been remembered by the many people who began careers with the pub chain as well as those who received charitable donations.

A statement issued by Thorley Taverns says: “With great sadness, we announce the loss of our founder Frank George Thorley who passed away peacefully this evening 22nd March 2023.

“His family greatly appreciate the kind wishes already being received and we know that our loyal local customers will all wish to pay their respects over the coming days.

“We are all deeply saddened at the loss of Frank this evening but as he would have insisted, also remember the good times he shared with many friends and customers around Thanet , Kent & beyond.”

One tribute from Nigel Avery, long serving landlord at Barnacles in Margate , said: “It is with a heavy heart that we say good night to our friend and boss Frank Thorley. A man dedicated to his family, friends and work. He gave his all to support many charities, local events and always went the extra mile for his staff.”

Oasis Ball: Dee Murphy, Kim Thorley, Frank Thorley, Loukia Michael

Thorley Taverns began in 1971 when Frank Thorley bought his first pub, The Angel, in the City of London. Frank then bought four further pubs in London before purchasing his first outlet in Thanet in 1975, The Charles Dickens, Broadstairs.

The move outside the City was spurred on by the Thorley family’s regular holidays to Thanet, resulting in Frank’s love of the area and his permanent move to Broadstairs in 1977. Thorley Taverns continued to grow throughout the 80s and 90s – with venues including the legendary Franks nightclub in Cliftonville-  with the business successfully operating its London and coastal sites from their Broadstairs base. Thorley Taverns sold their last London pub, The Aldgate Exchange, in late 2013.

The business currently has 18 venues across Thanet and Sandwich.

Frank (left) and organisers of the annual boxing gala present a charity donation

As well as running the Thanet pubs, Frank was a champion of local charities and organisations including Oasis Domestic Abuse Service and Ramsgate Boxing Club.

He was also one of the organisers of the annual Thanet boxing gala which raised thousands for local charities including Oasis, Pilgrims Hospices, Yoakley Homes and Shelter Box.

A statement from Oasis Domestoc Abuse Service says: “We are hugely saddened by the passing of Frank Thorley of Thorley Taverns who has been a long-standing supporter of Oasis since we first opened our doors as the Thanet Refuge in 1994.

“The unfaltering generosity of the Thorley family and Thorley Taverns Ltd for the past 29 years has enabled us to deliver a range of incredibly important services that help survivors affected by DomesticA buse rebuild their lives.

“In 2019, in typical generosity, the Thorley family hosted a fundraising ball in honour of our 25th anniversary. This event alone raised £12,000 to support our work.

“Frank’s family and friends are in our thoughts at this time, and we send huge gratitude and love to you all.”



  1. Condolences to Frank’s family, frank was a kind caring friendly man who was a good role model in life and business highly respected by all who knew and worked for him. Cheers frank for all your help. R.I.P.

  2. Sorry to hear of Franks passing, he once offered to buy me pint, which I refused as I hadn’t a clue who he was! When he explained he owned the pub we were in, I accepted! You could always guarantee a good pint in any of his pubs.

    • A good man, did a lot for thanet. The “ everyone’s welcome” but not advertised sunday afternoon birthday bash’s he had at the Digby were always a pleasure and understated.

  3. A good life well lived and that is all we can ask for. Frank was a kind and generous individual and an example of how wealthy individuals can benefit their community.
    If there is an afterlife, Frank won’t be resting, so enjoy immortality Frank, and maybe we will meet again

  4. Rest in peace Frank.
    Thank you for bringing joy to many of my nights over the years.
    The first and only time I ever got refused entry to bar or club was for my 30th Birthday, I didn’t think to bring ID with me, going into Franks as I had been every week for the ages. Anyway it was because I had a tan and just got back holiday. Received a lovely letter and card with Tickets to go back and a bottle of plonk!
    Thoughts are with the family x

  5. Sorry to hear of the passing of Frank. He was always so kind to this friend across the pond. Glad I got to see him only 2 months ago. Rest in peace. You’ll be missed.

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