IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Tributes to Kevin Thomas, the busker who could brighten up any day

Performer has died at 50

10 September, 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Kevin Thomas in full flow with one of his songs

HE was able to make time stand still as passers-by in Finsbury Park forgot what they were rushing about for and waited to listen to his soulful songs – and then have a chat about everything and nothing.

So it is not just his pet dog Zeela who is mourning the death of busker Kevin Thomas, who has died aged 50. He had taught himself to play guitar and began busking 25 years ago when he first moved to London from Bridgend in South Wales.

He had lived on the Six Acres estate, Durham Road, in Finsbury Park since 2001. His mother, Margaret Thomas, said he had been the middle son of three brothers, telling the Tribune: “The doctor told me if you are ever going to have a child who is a bit different, it is always the middle one.

“That’s what Kevin was, he was different. He was a character, he would talk to anyone and nothing phased him. He wanted to know everyone and he was kind.”

When Kevin was 18 he took off and went hitchhiking through Wales, ending up on the Greek island Santorini where he worked in restaurants. He then moved to Athens where he worked at a youth hostel. He decided to go to London when he was in his early 20s.

Mrs  Thomas said: “He moved because of the lure to London that the youngsters have. That was the time when there was hardly any work around. “He couldn’t get an apprenticeship. So he began busking.”

Kevin wrote his own songs and had a song he used to play for when children walked by.

“He had a special song for those children, these children are probably all grown up now,” said Ms Thomas. “He had his dog and the children would love the dog. He also had a song he wrote for all the pretty ladies who walked by too. He loved busking and he loved the attention.”

Kevin adopted Sazzy, from the Dog’s Trust in Bridgend after a puppy he owned was stolen from him.

When Sazzy died in 2015, he adopted sheepdog Zeela who would accompany him on his busking sessions. Kevin met his partner Sarah 15 years ago when she lived in Holloway Road and passed him as he was busking.

She said: “He was tall, had a big presence and was very kind. He liked to spend time in nature and he taught himself how to make wood carvings.”

Kevin had to give up busking two years ago after falling ill with kidney disease.

He died on August 20 after suffering a heart attack. He leaves behind his partner Sarah, his mother Margaret and brothers Vincent and Stephen, and his sheepdog Zeela.

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