Mario Basini, who ran the fish and chip shop in Fairwater with Nato (Renato), his brother) for around 30 years has passed away.
The 86-year-old died at home in February, two months after his brother’s passing. Their sister, Giuseppina (Pina), died in April. The family shop- M & R Basini Fish Bar- was loved by the local community who enjoyed the food as much as the friendly team behind the counter. A relative told Cwmbran Life that the brothers served the community from around 1968 to 1998.
Mario was born to Italian parents in Tonypandy in 1933 before they moved to Blackwood following his father’s death. This is the beautiful eulogy that was read out at his funeral service on 17 March at Our Lady of the Angels RC Church, Old Cwmbran.
Mario Basini’s Eulogy
“Mario was born on March 20th 1933 in Tonypandy. He had two brothers, the late Lui and Renato (Nato) and also one sister, Giuseppina (Pina). His parents, Francesca and Francesco had a café in the Rhondda and this is where Mario learned his trade, like so many other second-generation Italians.
“After his father sadly passed away when Mario was only six, his mother left Tonypandy with the children, and moved to Cefn Forest. This is where he grew up.
“He attended grammar school but left at an early age to help family in the café business. Mario worked with many of his family members before settling with his baby brother, Renato. This was the start of the Mario and Nato Double-Act which lasted for over sixty years!
There was only ONE Mario and Nato
“Were they like the Two Ronnies? No! Morecombe and Wise? No! Abbot and Castello? No … There was only ONE Mario and Nato!
“Mario lived with Renato, Angiolina and their two children for many years. Mario became like a second dad to Paolo and Anna. He was like the Peter Pan of the house and always up for playing a board game. Mario was an adored uncle to all his nieces and nephews, but to Anna and Paolo, he was Zio (Italian for Uncle).
“He would often babysit Anna and Paolo. This nearly always meant a little walk down to the off-licence, where he told the children he got his ‘medicine’ from. It was only later, as they grew older, they realised that the ‘cough medicine’ he’d told them he’d been drinking (with a cheeky smile!) was whisky! And, of course, they’ve enjoyed teasing him about this over the years.
“Paolo and Anna often recall the banter and teasing that went on around the dinner table. Especially when Nato teased Mario about his National Service. Mario served in the RAF as an Auxillary Nurse and Renato would tell stories about their Mam being worried sick about Mario while he was away…and he was only in Blackpool! Renato ended up doing his National Service in Korea!
“The family will always remember Christmas time with Mario, especially the annual boxing night party at his house and the famous ‘stop -the- bus’ card game, which induced fits of infectious giggles between Mario and his sister Pina.
“Mario enjoyed travelling and exploring new places. He went on many cruises. The family think that the saying “what goes on tour, stays on tour” must have come from Mario! He never said very much about his adventures on holiday. It is only since going through some of his boxed photographs recently, that we have experienced seeing ‘holiday Mario’ in full party-mode on his cruises, posing in fancy-dress, glass in hand at the bar, surrounded by pretty girls!
“Mario was very much of the generation that ‘worked hard and played hard.’ But he also became a real ‘home-bird’ and loved his own house when he moved out of Renato’s family home. He took so much pride in everything he did. He loved gardening, but even more than that, he loved cooking. He loved his food (although Renato would frequently describe him as a ‘fussy b**ger’)! If you went to his house, you would never leave empty-handed.
“As Mario got older, he lost the use of his right arm and struggled to walk, but this didn’t stop him. He was always determined to carry on as normal. We don’t know how many times he had fallen over the last few years and ended up in hospital.
“There was one time where he was making what the Italians call ‘torta di patate’ (potato pie) which involves mashing large quantities of potatoes in a bowl. He rang Paolo’s house and spoke to Laura. He told her he’d had a bit of an accident and needed help, so Laura went quickly up to his house, only to find Mario lying on the floor, covered in mashed potatoes. She said he looked like a ‘snow angel’ where he’d been moving around on the floor, trying to reach the phone!
The wonderful legacy he left to several charities
“Mario was a very kind, modest and generous man who gave regularly, every month, to several charities. Cancer Research, Spinal Injuries, UNICEF and CAFOD were all very close to his heart. His generosity is reflected in the wonderful legacy that he has left behind in the donation of the majority of his estate to these deserving charities.
“Mario was always determined to do what he wanted – some might even say he was stubborn! We all know how much he loved his home and no matter how many times he ended up in hospital, he always wanted to come back to his own home.
“We believe that after his last episode in hospital, his prayers were answered and within just a fortnight of leaving hospital, he was ready to resume the ‘Mario and Nato double-act’ up in Heaven.
“Rest in Peace, Mario. We will all miss you dearly. Thanks for all the laughs, memories and for being the best Zio ever.”
Mario Basini’s funeral announcement in the South Wales Argus
BASINI-GAZZI Suddenly, on 20th February 2020, Mario Basini-Gazzi of Fairwater, Cwmbran. Beloved brother of Pina, the late Lui, recently deceased Renato. Loving brother-in-law of Angiolina, much loved uncle to all his loving nephews and nieces, adored great-uncle to all his great nephews and nieces. Sadly missed by all his family and friends. R.I.P. Funeral Tuesday, 17th March. Requiem mass 11am at Our Lady of the Angels RC Church, Old Cwmbran, followed by internment at Llwyncelyn Cemetery, Cwmbran. Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu at the service for Our Lady of the Angels Parish Church. Enquiries to Peterson Funeral Home, Maendy Way, Cwmbran. Tel: 01633 483127.