Some very sad news!
Kenneth Thompson aka Kenny Lawrence aka "Ken Beast" passed away unexpectedly on his birthday, on Monday 12th June 2017.
Ken "adopted", befriended and surrounded himself with many younger folk. Some of us he also mentored and encouraged musically, vocally, in performance arts and stage craft. To the youngest, and to those who knew him from when they were tiny, he was "Grandad Ken".
"Angel Beast" was to an extent Ken's "creature" too, taking first steps and growing in confidence under his tutelage. Jeff, Colin and Jonathan were his "boys" or "sons". Liz was his "Widge" - the outcome of a mobile phone autocorrect of "Wifie"!
Ken had many friends in Newcastle and further afield who will miss him. He had a big personality and will not soon be forgotten.
Ken had a very impressive voice too! Apart from occasional, stunning solo performances at the weddings of friends and "family", Ken's main opportunities to express his talent in the last 10 years were as a member of George Welch's Ukulele Allstars and the Ukulele Hotshots.
Ken was introduced to the ukulele, and thereby to many of Ken's Newcastle friends and "family" over the last 10 years ago, by Jonathan Wells-Lee aka Jon Lee.
There are too few videos and recordings of Ken in full flight, singing his heart out. It seems very fitting, completing a wide circle of friendship, that we have this video to remember Ken's singing by. Frank Garland visited Newcastle in 2013 to video Jon Lee. Jon introduced Ken to Frank and Frank recorded Ken singing "The Sunshine of Your Smile" accompanied by Jon on ukulele. Ken was up to a bit of mischief too, as would be expected by anyone who knew Ken.
Thank you Ken from all of us: for the memories, the fun, your friendship, support and encouragement - and the sunshine of your smile.