Bikers to lead funeral procession tribute for former Porthcawl landlord Ken Evans


 

A man whose name became synonymous with the town of Porthcawl has died aged 76.

Motorcyclists are expected to lead a funeral cortege for legendary Knights Arms landlord Ken Evans as the town bids him a fond farewell on Monday.

As a lifeguard, RNLI crewman, publican and town councillor, Ken left his mark on the people of the town and the town itself.

“People have said he is a legend,” said his son Christian.

“I think he’ll be remembered as someone who did a lot for our town whether it was saving lives, raising money for charity or putting smiles on people’s faces.”

Christian, 44, said his dad was “born to be a landlord” as he had a wide variety of interests from rugby to surfing and motorcycles.

Ken used to drop Christian and his brother Wayne off at Nottage Primary School on his Vincent Chopper and his love of bikes also drew motorcycle enthusiasts, including Hell’s Angels, in their droves to the Knights Arms, which is why bikers are being called upon to gather at the Square, where Ken still lived with wife Pat, to ride ahead of the funeral car on Monday.

Born to a Rhondda family in London while his father was serving in the Welsh Guards in World War II, Ken later returned to Wales with his parents when they ran Butcher’s Arms in Penygraig. They later moved to Porthcawl to run the Ship And Castle.

Ken who, at 6ft 4in and 19 stone, was the smallest of the family’s four sons, joined the Welsh Guards, but was bought out of the Army to play rugby league for Whitehaven and Wakefield Trinity in the north of England in the 1960s.

Injury ended his career and he returned to Porthcawl where he became the town’s first paid lifeguard and his brothers Mike, Ray and David, helped him to establish Porthcawl Lifeguard Club.

The trio were also among the original RNLI crew members.

Christian said: “A huge part of dad’s life was the RNLI and he went on to serve for over 40 years, over 20 years as a crewman where the lifeboat saved 144 lives.

“Ross Martin has been researching the history of the RNLI at Porthcawl and in the summer of 1965, the first-ever RNLI call out was made by a lifeguard at Rhych Point, who noticed some swimmers in trouble. That lifeguard was dad.

“Realising he had to act quickly, he then sprinted over from the lifeguard base to the lifeboat station and was part of the first -ever crew to launch the boat and went on to perform a successful rescue.”

He also saved and resuscitated a drowning girl in the summer of 1965 and was reunited with Anita Griffiths, nee George, 43 years later in 2008.

Ken and Pat, who also have a daughter Karen, took over the Knights Arms with his brother Ray and his wife Dee, who is Pat’s sister, in 1971.

Ken and Pat later ran the Pier Hotel and guest houses throughout the town.

Christian said his dad died last Friday following a brave 13-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He praised staff at Maesteg Community Hospital where his dad had been undergoing rehabilitation following major surgery.

• Bikers are expected to meet at 12.15pm in the Square ahead of the funeral at 12.45pm at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on New Road, Porthcawl, on Monday. It will be followed by a ceremony at Coychurch Crematorium at 2.15pm.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/bikers-lead-funeral-procession-tribute-8304918