Hastings Old Town publican remembered for his ‘infectious enthusiasm’

Keith Challis
Keith Challis

The friends and family of a well-loved Old Town pub landlord have this week paid tribute to him.

Keith Challis, who ran The Jenny Lind Inn in High Street, died in the early hours of October 22, aged 62.

He was the pub’s landlord for more than seven years.

Those who knew Keith said he was a very active supporter of the Old Town and had associations with many events and groups, such as Carnival FM, Fat Tuesday, Jack-in-the-Green and Hastings Comedy Fringe Festival.

He had many close friends dating back 40-50 years.

Keith’s wife, Linda, said: “The seven years Keith and I spent together were filled with love and support. He encircled my family with love. I will miss his infectious smile that brightened my every day.”

Close friend, Alan Sykes, said: “Keith’s cheeky enthusiasm for life and people was contagious and enveloped all who had the privilege of knowing him. He was also the most caring person you could wish to meet.”

Friends Denise and Nick Baskett said: “The comfort of having Keith as a close friend has not been taken away, and in that we’ll always be connected and thankful. He is so sadly missed.”

Bradford Gross, member of Cocktail Safari band, said: “Keith was a kind and honest guy. A great lover and supporter of live music and part of the soul of Old Town.”

Friend Steve Machin said Keith’s ‘infectious enthusiasm’ would be ‘sorely missed’.

Chris Young, of Hastings Comedy Fringe Festival, said: “Keith is a man in the community I looked up to a lot. He coached me and Jake Alexander around the Fringe and was fully behind not only the charity but every idea we pitched, joking around at these two local lads. He called us inspirational, but it is he who inspired me more that I think he would have ever realised.”

Keith’s funeral will be held at St Clements Church, on Thursday (November 10) at 1.30pm, followed by a celebration of his life at The Jenny Lind.

All are welcome, the family requests no flowers, but donations to St Michael’s Hospice are welcome at The Jenny Lind on the day or via Hinkleys Funeral Directors. The family requests anyone wishing to attend the service wears something pink.

A book of condolences is also available in The Jenny Lind for people to leave tributes.

Keith’s family would like to express their sincerest thanks to the emergency services for their swift response and compassion.

Keith is survived by his wife, Linda, sister Carol, six nephews, two step-daughters, and four grandchildren.

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