Popular St Albans busker dies

A FAMILIAR face on the local folk scene who used to busk for charity outside the St Albans Clock Tower on Wednesdays has died.

Keith Nightingale, 72, who lived in Marshalswick with his wife of 35 years Mo, had been ill for a while and had been in and out of hospital over the past year.

He had always been a folk singer but it was a bout of glandular fever in the 1970s which led to him buying a guitar and starting to perform in clubs around where he lived at the time.

After marriage to Mo, he moved to St Albans and was a familiar sight performing around the city particularly at the Black Lion pub in Fishpool Street where he played with a partner.

Keith, who worked as a medical rep by profession, took the name of the Knave of Herts adapted from an old folk song and in his later years, after being diagnosed with cancer, he began busking outside the Clock Tower on the Wednesday market to raise money for Cancer Research.

He was always impeccably dressed and if sometimes he was described as eccentric, he took it as a compliment. He was even granted “grandfather rights” to the pitch by the district council

His last folk performance was around two months ago with a group of musicians but he had to stop busking last year as his health deteriorated.

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Mo, who said her husband had been a mentor to younger musicians, added: “He was a great organiser and planner of things. He would practice a lot of his busking at home.”

Keith leaves three sons from a previous marriage and six grandchildren. His funeral was today at West Herts Crematorium in Garston.