Tributes have been paid to a popular musician and football coach after his death.
Sean ‘Mac’ McKenzie died earlier this month, after a three-year-battle with cancer.
We have had over 500 social media messages from people in football and showbusiness all about my dadLiam McKenzie
He was best known as a club singer in Blackpool and across the Fylde and as part of the Gale Brothers vocal harmony act, as well as for coaching football for St Annes YMCA, among others, for many years - following a brief stint as a semi-professional for Aston Villa in his youth.
Mr McKenzie, hailed in the business as ‘the man with the golden voice’ by Blackpool-based impressario Duggie Chapman, worked summer seasons on all three of the resort’s piers, working with many of the greats including The Beatles, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Tommy Steele, Bruce Forsythe and Cilla Black - who died just a day before he did.
He spent more than 40 years in showbusiness, and worked all over the UK as well as in America, South Africa and Europe.
Son Liam, who has followed in his father’s musical footsteps in band The Coustics, said Mr McKenzie was taken ill in mid-June, but was able to attend his youngest son Daniel’s wedding before being admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. He died at Trinity Hospice on Sunday, August 2, aged 79.
“We have had over 500 social media messages from people in football and showbusiness all about my dad,” Liam said. “He had time for everyone and made everyone feel 10 feet-tall, little things like remembering a goal you’d scored 30 years ago.
“He came to every gig I played, for about 20 years, until he got sick. He’d tell me if I was good or otherwise, depending on the night. He’d played the big shows, places like the London Palladium as well as the dumps, so he would be there giving me the thumbs up because he understood it so well.
“As a dad, he taught all his four sons to play football, and then spent another 20 years doing that for others. Lads in their 20s and 30s, with their own sons now, have spoken about how he was the greatest.
“He passed quite peacefully, although he was in a lot of pain at the end. But all four of his sons were at his bedside, which he would have wanted.”
Dublin-born Sean grew up in Birmingham, met his wife of nearly 49 years Carolyn in Bournemouth and they moved to Blackpool in the 1970s.
They lived in St Annes, bringing up four sons, Sean, 48, Liam, 45, Jamie, 42 and Daniel, 33. He had nine grandchildren.
As well as working as a singer and semi-pro footballer, Mr McKenzie spent seven years in the Parachute Regiment and in the 1990s was a football scout for teams including Blackpool and Preston.
The funeral will take place at Our Lady Star Of The Sea Church in St Annes on Friday, August 21, at 10am, followed by a service at Lytham Crematorium.
Liam’s band The Coustics will be playing Blackpool’s Stanley Ward Club, Common Edge, on Saturday, August, 22, in tribute to Sean.