Tributes to much-loved Worksop café owner and 'friend to all' who passed away aged 46

Tributes have poured in for a hugely loved Worksop café owner who has passed away aged just 46.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 12:04 pm
Leano Kaponas is pictured third from right with wife Diana (front) and Cafe Neo staff.
Leano Kaponas is pictured third from right with wife Diana (front) and Cafe Neo staff.

‘True gentleman’ and pillar of the community Leano Kaponas, owner of Cafe Neo, died on Tuesday, June 8.

His passing has sent shockwaves through the Worksop community with hundreds paying tribute to the ‘respectful, humble and generally great bloke’.

Cafe Neo announced on Facebook: “With the greatest sorrow, we are announcing that on June 8 2021, we lost the heart of Cafe Neo.

“Leano kaponas, the founder, the manager, the boss, and most importantly the friend to all.

“He has played an integral role in the Worksop community for over 25 years and he will undoubtedly be missed.”

The post has attracted hundreds of comments with customers and residents rallying round to pay their respects.

Stavros Alambritis said: “My deepest love and condolences go out to Diana Kaponas and her family during this very tough loss.

"The shock is no doubt ringing throughout the Cypriot community as I write, and this reminds us all that life is sometimes cut short and we must cherish all the moments that we are blessed with here on this Earth.”

Daniel Wankiewicz said: “The true example of a top Greek bloke.

"Always a good laugh, strong husband to such a lovely wife and first class dad. I’m proud to of got to know you so well.”

Andrew Jewell said: “He will be sadly missed by all those who were lucky enough to have had the chance to make his acquaintance.”

Helena Taylor said: “He built a community. It [Cafe Neo] isn’t just somewhere to eat, it’s somewhere to see friendly and familiar faces, a place where people with no family found friends who not only provided great food but support.”

Leano was born and raised in Worksop and described the town as ‘full of good and honest people – if you look after them, they will look after you’.

A passionate entrepreneur, he studied Business and Finance at North Nottighamshire College before completing a degree in Catering Management at the University of Manchester.

Leano knew it was his ‘destiny’ to take over the family business and aged just 19, he became a partner at Cypriana Fish Bar as well as Cypriana Coffee House on Bridge Street, which his parents had been running in the town since 1972.

Leano also ran a number of other businesses including The Phone Bar and Unique furnishings with his beloved wife Diana.

In 2006, Cafe Neo was born on Bridge Place and, now based at the Priory Centre, has served as a bustling hub and ‘heart’ of the town ever since.

The business had to come up with innovative ways to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, but ploughed through.

Cafe Neo announced that it would reopen in Leano’s honour today (Wednesday, June 16) after closing its doors for seven days.

"Despite the heavy loss, our team will continue to deliver to the exceptional standard that Leano ensured you all experienced,” the post adds.

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