The family of a notorious Blackpool hard man who once saw off the infamous Kray twins have paid tribute to a “true gentleman”.
Michael “Mixie” Walsh, who spent his later years in the Nightingales Care Home, died on October 9 following a battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 84.
He earned a colourful reputation in the resort and despite his criminal past was credited with keeping Blackpool free of trouble.
Speaking on behalf of the family, daughter-in-law Charley Walsh today said: “He was a legend and the last of his kind. He had true old-fashioned values. He was a character who had true charisma and he could hold an audience with anyone, whether they were rich or poor.”
Mixie arrived in Blackpool in 1940 with his mum and went on to become well-known across the Fylde coast and beyond.
He famously turned away London’s dangerous Kray twins when Ronnie and Reggie tried to expand their criminal empire to the Fylde coast.
Mrs Walsh, who is married to Mixie’s eldest son Glenn, added: “Through the years he earned his reputation and nobody will ever take his place. He was a true gentleman who kept the town clear of trouble and kept out-of-towners away.
“We are truly devastated at losing such a character – he was the one and only Mixie. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.”
Mixie served time in Dartmoor for attacking six police officers and, during his stint behind bars, befriended London hard man Eric Mason.
When Mixie became ill, Mason organised a benefit night for him in Blackpool.
Mrs Walsh added: “At the end of the day, he kept the town clear of trouble and he commanded respect – it’s the end of an era.”
She also thanked the staff at nightingales Care Home for doing “an amazing job” looking after Mixie in his final years.
The funeral will take place at St Kentigern’s Church, on Newton Drive, on Friday.
A procession to the church will set off from the Ardwick pub at 11am. The funeral starts at 12pm and will be followed by a committal at Carleton Crematorium.
Several tributes have been posted on message boards online.
One user, under the screen name Blackpoolmad, wrote: “The man was a gentleman and was bursting with charisma.”
Another posted: “The man had a very big reputation, carried as far as Brighton where I’ve heard him mentioned.”
One user added: “Growing up in Blackpool, he was a household name.”