Colourful Characters

Photo:Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz

From the private collection of Alan Spicer

Kenny Thew

By Alan Spicer

Like Jerry Lee Lewis

My first encounter with Kenny was when my elder brother Mick took me with him to a scrap yard in Popes Folly, off Hollingdean Rd at the age of around 12 . Kenny always wore a battered leather jacket and had plenty of hair combed back Jerry Lee Lewis style.

Victims of Ken’s gas axe

The yard was full of treasures. My favourite, which I called ‘The Clowns Car’ because of its orange and blue paintwork and cut out sides with no doors, was in fact a WW2 Mercedes Kfz12 staff car. It would now be worth a vast fortune but unfortunately became victim to Ken's gas axe along with many other future classics. Ken would often go into very serious stories and only after a good 15 minutes or so would it dawn on you that he was spinning a yarn.

A funny tale

But one tale I always remember is when Ken told us of how he was stopped by the police and asked "Excuse me Sir, but we have been following you for the last hour and you have stopped in a suspicious manner looking at various vehicles parked in several locations around the town. Can you please explain what you are doing ?" Kenny replied "Certainly officer, stock taking".  He would then burst into laughter in his hoarse voice not unlike that of Tommy Bruce the singer.

A real character

I still saw Kenny around in later life, and he never changed. He was a real character whose motto was "My word is my bond", and this was printed on his business card for Magnet Motors .

This page was added on 11/07/2011.
Comments about this page

My nan was Lillian Beatrice Thew, unfortunately I can't remember my grandad's name as he was just 'grandad' before he died. They lived in the prefab bungalows in Manor Road for a while and he had one leg. The dog Sandy had three legs! Funny the things you remember. Wondering if Kenny Thew is/was a relative.

By Lisa Elford (26/09/2012)

Kenneth Thew. Ken was a regular customer at the Elephant and Castle in London Road, Brighton on the corner with Francis Street opposite Roslins, in the early 60s. His Sunday morning special would be to arrive at the pub in an open top American car, a classic Fire Engine, or some other eccentric vehicle he had purchased for scrap. Ken was a member of the dart team which was very successful in the Preston Circus and District Sportsman League. As well as being and excellent dart player he would often demonstrate his skills with six inch nails with which he was as accurate on the dart board as he was with darts, Another of his party pieces would be to join in public bar sing songs whilst playing the bones. Again he was an expert. I once met his brother Gordon Thew (a chalk and cheese combination) Gordon was on leave from South Africa where he managed a gold mine, he spoke with an Eton accent but could enthrall and audience with tales as well as his brother Ken; despite their different characters they seemed very close. Ken was a larger than life character always laughing and telling jokes and stories, he was often accompanied by his wife Georgina who was a classic attractive blonde with a good sense of fun and an early supporter of the mini skirt which attracted much attention. They made a very colouful couple and their company was to be enjoyed.

By Roger Mead (25/10/2012)