Popular former Bromsgrove landlord Jeff Kay dies after illness battle - The Bromsgrove Standard

Popular former Bromsgrove landlord Jeff Kay dies after illness battle

Bromsgrove Editorial 22nd Nov, 2017   0

THE POPULAR former landlord of Bromsgrove’s Hop Pole Inn Jeff Kay has passed away in Brisbane, Australia, where he lived for the past few years.

Jeff, who was also a keen musician and arts enthusiast, had battled with virulent cancer for several months.

Although he lost his fight he remained characteristically cheerful throughout.

Jeff spent many years running the ‘Hop Pole Community’ as he referred to it.

There he became a pioneer in bringing live bands and musicians to Bromsgrove at a time when most town venues featured DJ’s.

The Hop Pole became a legendary venue where every up and coming band wanted to perform. The bucket of donations for a ‘great gig’

overflowed nightly and Jeff was known for calling time with his famous one-liner: ‘Good night you bunch of evil drunks’.

He was also a well-respected bass guitarist, playing in several bands but known mostly for his days with top scar reggae group ‘The Random Band” where his son Russell also played conga drums.

Close friend Euan Rose told The Standard: “Jeff was a true champion of the arts and in addition running gigs and concerts, he formed a live theatre company, Aardvark Productions with myself and the carpet trader from across the road to the pub, guitarist and composer Charles Townsend.”

The group joined forces to stage the preimere of the popular pirate musical ‘Charlotte Badger’ in the Hop Pole gardens and both Russell and Siobhan appeared in the piece. The show, based on the true story of a Bromsgrove girl in the 1700s, went on to be performed several times at the Artrix among other theatres and is due to have an outing via the ‘Soulfire Circus’ company in Australia.

Jeff gave up running the Hop Pole back in 2009 and returned with Russell to his old job as a computer analyst in Australia where he also continued playing bass guitar with bands including First reaction and latterly ‘Grumpy Old Men’.

Euan said: “Jeff was anything but grumpy though, he always had a smile on his face and whilst he had the build of a giant, he was more jolly than intimidating.

“He was Polish by descent and inherited that sense of humour that anyone who has spent an evening in the company of Polish people should appreciate.

“The famous drink he introduced to the Hop Pole was the Australian rum known as Bundy when you became a member of the community you donned an outrageous wig, out came a Polaroid and you were snapped downing it in one with your photo appearing on the website and the wall of fame.

“There will be many muso’s, actors and local Bromsgrovians, me included, whose lives he touched that are raising a glass to him and hoping he’s pounding that bass and downing a bundy at the big gig house in the sky.”

Jeff is survived by his son Russell, daughter Siobhan and granddaughter Ellie.

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