Street to be named in memory of popular local artist Sid

The late Sid Benyon
The late Sid Benyon

A POPULAR local artist who died days before his debut exhibition is having a street named after him.

Sid Beynon had become a key figure at the town’s Arts Forum gallery in St Leonards but was perhaps best known for his pebble ‘paintings’ on Hastings seafront where he would create images from different coloured stones.

One of Sid's creations

One of Sid's creations

The 54-year-old died from a heart attack in August last year - two days before his first ever show was set to start.

His death was mourned across the local art community and friends held a beach-front memorial service.

He was short-listed for one of three spots on a commemorative bench planned for a new cycle route between Hastings and nearby Bexhill, but narrowly missed out.

However, Hastings Borough Council this week announced that he would be remembered with a street name on a new development.

The stretch, at the top of Elphinstone Road, will be officially called Beynon Way when it opens later in the year.

Revealing the authority’s decision, Councillor Phil Scott paid tribute to the much-loved local character.

He said: “Sid Beynon was a prominent figure in Hastings art scene.

“We hope this tribute to him reminds people of his generous contribution to art in our town.”

And it was a sentiment echoed by The Arts Forum’s Harry Lyons, who was delighted to see the town recognise the life of one of its most colourful sons.

He said: “Sid was a corner stone of the Hastings Arts Forum. He joined in 2006 as the forum was acquiring its two galleries and was seldom absent, administering the busy schedule of constantly changing shows, from booking the shows in, hanging them, insisting on high standards of presentation, and despatching sales.

“He was widely recognised around Hastings, being a familiar sight on his bicycle with his iconic Peruvian style hat and his death left a hole in the forum’s work which has been difficult to fill.”

Another former Arts Forum colleague, Hilary Totah described him as ‘a generous, quietly humble and thoughtful soul’ whose passion ‘embodied the intrinsic qualities of this amazing town’.

Mr Beynon, who loved to tell friends how he ‘left school at the age of 12 with four swimming certificates’, studied art at university and helped support - and inspire - a host of local aspiring artists.

There are also plans to commemorate his life with a mosaic of his work along the lower promenade near Marine Court in St Leonards.