A well known businesswoman from Largs, who had a smile that 'could light up any room', has passed away after a short illness at the age of 80.

Francesca Nardini was a dear friend to many in the town, and first came to Largs at the end of the Second World War with her father Sandrino - one of the directors who helped launch the famous Nardini's Cafe in 1935 - and mother Cesarina.

Her twin brothers Robby and Ricky followed in their father's footsteps by becoming company directors of the world famous ice cream parlour, for many years.

As well as her close family connections with the famous cafe and restaurant, Francesca became a successful businesswoman in the town, and could turn her hand to many different ventures.

She married Denis Pepin, and together they ran a number of successful businesses in Largs including The Nip Inn bar, and a hairdressing salon in Wilson Street.

The couple had five Paola, Stefano, Robbie, Ricky and Francesca. They later moved to Italy to be closer to Francesca's family roots in Barga, and after that, they moved to London.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Always practical and hard-working to help support her family, Francesca went to night school and studied to become an English teacher. 

For 20 years, she lived in Little Neston, on the Wirral Peninsula, Cheshire, and latterly she moved to Old Windsor to be closer to her family, and in particular to her grandchildren, on whom she doted.

In her later years, Francesca was involved in bringing exchange students to the UK from France and was very much in her element dealing with students, coaches and leaders.

Denis died 10 years ago and daughter Paola passed away in 2021.

In her last interview with the Largs and Millport News, Francesca spoke about her pride in her son Stefano receiving a BAFTA for his work on Netflix series The Witcher, with the Cinesite team.

Daughter Cesca, who now lives in Maidenhead, paid tribute to her mum, saying: "She was such a beautiful person inside and out.

"My mum always went back to Largs and had a holiday with family and friends and never lost touch with anybody from her time growing up.

"She was interested in everyone's story and always had a listening ear. She could light up any room the minute she walked in, and was very much a 'people person'.

"She loved to laugh, and was very friendly and had a lovely, friendly and warm nature about her - she will be greatly missed.

"She was an amazing nonna to Luca, Kira, Archie, and Siena." 

As a thank you to Thames Hospice for all the help and support that they have provided to the family,  a website has been set up in Francesca's memory at francescanardini.muchloved.com which has raised nearly £2,000 for the organisation.

One close friend said: "I’m so sad you’re gone, heaven has truly gained an angel.

"I shall treasure the many fond memories of you, you were an amazing lady. May you rest in peace."

Another said: "For a special lady who lived life to the full with her beautiful smile and fantastic sense of fun. For a wonderful mother, nonna, sister, aunt and friend."

Francesca's funeral, to which all are respectfully invited, will be held on Monday, March 11 at Clyde Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium at 11am.