A SOCIAL club’s popular concert chairman was hailed as “total pro, a lovely man and a true gentleman” after he died suddenly.
Kevin James, who joined Brinsworth Social Club 44 years ago and was a committee member for 30, died on Tuesday, January 7, after collapsing at home.
Friend and club president Chris Spooner said the 62-year-old compere, announcer and bingo caller (pictured) was “always jolly but had some steel and would threaten to throw the turns out if they were too loud”.
Chris added: “He would come in for a drink during the week but he’d be there on Saturday night, Sunday lunchtime and Sunday evening.
“He would introduce the turns, do the raffle and call the bingo — he had his own style.”
A former steelworker for British Steel, Kevin also delivered cars around the country and drove Cool Cube refrigerated vans.
But his heart was at the Brinsworth Lane club where he was concert chairman for 28 years.
Chris, the club president for 11 years, said Kevin was a huge music lover, with a particular interest in rock music, and had gone to see Muse with partner of three years Cath Smith a few years ago.
Chris and Kevin, of Godric Drive, would go on annual holidays to Magaluf and Blackpool with friends.
“He nicknamed us Ocean’s 11,” recalled Chris.
“We went all over together.
“He’s going to be missed.”
Fellow club member Cath (53) said she had known Kevin — who also leaves a son Christopher and grandchildren Charlie, Billy and Lucy — for many years before they enjoyed a whirlwind romance, starting with a date at the Winter Green pub in nearby Waverley.
“We both had steak and chips,” she recalled. “He made me laugh and we got on really well.
“I went away that Christmas and he was quite annoyed with me because he was going to miss me — he told me to think about us moving in.
“On New Year’s Eve I stayed over and the morning after I said I didn’t want to go home — he said I didn’t have to, and that was it.
“He was so lovely and caring towards me.
“He had his moments like most people but they all loved him at the club.
“He loved rock, but then he loved all kinds of music from Genesis right through to classical.”
Kevin had suffered from the lung problem chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for some time before his death and become even shorter of breath near the end, said Cath.
A postmortem was due to be held yesterday and funeral details have yet to be released.
Friends and club members flocked to pay tributes on social media to Kevin.
Darren Atkinson wrote: “A total pro, lovely man and a true gentleman. Rest in peace my friend, Yorkie”, while Dave Sunley said: “We were only there on Christmas Eve. There are very few concert chairpeople left who approach their position with the professionalism Kevin did. Top bloke.”