A life spent behind the bar

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Tributes have been paid to a popular Newton-born pub landlord who has died.

Kenneth Pilkington, died in Wigan Infirmary on January 3. The cause of his death remains unclear but he had suffered with a chest condition in the later years of his life.

Born in Newton-le-Willows Kenneth, who was known to most people as Ken, started out working in a tailor’s shop in Ashton before finding his way into the pub trade by helping Harry Ashcroft, who owned the George and Dragon in Leigh.

Ken, 69, went on to run many of the town’s best-loved pubs, including The Musketeer, the Courts Hotel and The Globe, as well as spells in charge of The Squirrel on Ince Moss and two social clubs in his native Newton.

His brother-in-law Keith Mottram, 73, said: “He was a great bloke and a real character who was well known all over the town.

“He was in the trade for most of his life and he was what I would call a fairly typical landlord. Most of his life was spent behind his bars and running his pubs.”

Mr Mottram said Ken also spent time as a relief manager covering pubs when the owners were either ill or away, spending some time in particular running a village pub near Warrington.

Away from his pubs Ken was a keen golfer and also supported Leigh rugby league club, amassing a sizeable collection of sporting memorabilia during his time at The Musketeer.

He also had a keen interest in popular music, with his collection of items including objects relating to a visit to Newton by The Beatles when the Fab Four were still a young band.

Mr Mottram said he married but divorced, and moved into a flat owned by Wigan and Leigh Housing where he spent the last years of his life.

He is survived by his children John and Joanne and his sister Brenda Mottram. A date for his funeral has yet to be set.