Landlord brought live gigs to village

Les Thompson, Eddy Grant and Lynn Flanagan at the Boot and Shoe pub  in Ackworth.
Les Thompson, Eddy Grant and Lynn Flanagan at the Boot and Shoe pub in Ackworth.

A pub landlord who revived the music scene in Ackworth has retired after 17 years.

Les Thompson, 65, spent his early life working as a roadie touring the country with local bands.

And after taking over the Boot and Shoe on Wakefield Road in 1989, he used his connections to bring a host of rock and roll musicians to his pub.

John Parr, who had a US number one with ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ in 1985, and former Scorpions lead guitarist Uli Jon Roth were among the singers to play at the venue.

Mr Thompson, of Bell Lane, Ackworth, also organised the Nostell Glam Rock weekend at Nostell Priory in 2005, which featured bands The Sweet, Slade and T-Rex.

He said: “Music has always been a passion and when I took over the pub there was no live music in Ackworth.

“I met a lot of great musicians, real craftsman, over the years and I enjoyed getting them to come and play for us.

“You look today and there is lots of places doing live music which is great to see.”

Mr Thompson has rubbed shoulders with a host of musicians over the years, including ‘Electric Avenue’ singer Eddy Grant.

The reggae musician visited the pub to talk about music and his other passion, his collection of Jaguar cars.

Mr Thompson owns Jagcats on Bell Lane in Ackworth, which sells Jaguar spare car parts worldwide.

He said: “I got a call one day from his manager and he said Eddy Grant wanted to come and have a look at some parts.

“He is a really nice bloke.My mates couldn’t believe it when he turned up. They were convinced it was just someone who looked like him.”

Mr Thompson stepped down as landlord in April but still plans to continue organising gigs at the pub.

He said: “It is my time to go and focus on my other business but I will keep bringing music to the pub.”