Performing with the Modfather

Kev McGuire, left, and his pal Mick Nealon, right, with Paul Weller at the Hammersmith Apollo.
Kev McGuire, left, and his pal Mick Nealon, right, with Paul Weller at the Hammersmith Apollo.
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IT’S official – the Modfather Paul Weller is a “caring geezer”.

The King of Mod welcomed local musician Kev McGuire to the world famous Hammersmith Apollo last month after being touched by the story of brave Hartlepool schoolboy Josh Dawson.

Kev, 46, who is recognised by music lovers in Hartlepool as a member of popular band The Style Selektors, jumped at the chance to make the trip south and play with his hero backstage ahead of the former Jam frontman’s gig on the night.

Kev had been helping to raise cash for five-year-old Seaton Carew youngster Josh, who is in the middle of a battle with a brain tumour.

But he couldn’t believe his luck when Weller’s secretary invited him to play alongside his musical inspiration to help raise awareness of the fundraising drive for Josh.

And Kev, a dad-of-two, said the superstar was quick to ask how Josh was doing in his battle against the devastating disease.

“Paul was all hugs and wanted to know the full story of Josh, he was visibly upset because he’s got kids and couldn’t imagine what it would be like to find out one of them had cancer,” said Kev, a resuscitation officer at South Tyneside Hospital.

Kev and his pal Mick Nealon watched Paul soundcheck, along with Emeli Sande and Miles Kane who were also playing on the night, before being invited backstage where Kev got the chance to play Weller’s second-ever solo hit from 1993, Wild Wood, with his hero, as well as having a bit of light-hearted banter.

“He was winding us up about the Hartlepool monkey legend, so we told him we had some more rope if he got a bit lairy,” laughed Kev.

But the serious element of raising cash and awareness for Josh soon resumed and Paul signed guitars, a DVD boxset and Style Selektors CDs which have since been auctioned and raised nearly £1,500.

Since the gig, the Modfather put a link to Josh’s story on his own website which has led to donations flooding in from as far as Japan and the USA.

“Paul has been a hero of mine for a long, long time,” said Kev, who is from Hartlepool but now lives in Hartburn.

“And some of the things we spoke about in our chat made me see him in a different light away from being a musician. He truly is a caring geezer.”

To donate or for more information about the appeal for Josh visit www.joshdawson.co.uk.