Autograph Keith Tooke R.I.P.

Photo supplied by Tony May

Tony May… It is with great sadness that I have to announce here today the death of my great friend Keith Tooke (known to many of you as ‘Autograph Keith’). I went around to his flat this morning to deliver my latest letter to him and found the place being cleared out. The exact cause of death is so far unknown but I was told Keith died ‘two weeks ago’. I am devastated at his loss and will miss him very much – people who ‘talk your kind of language’ and whom share with you a passion are VERY rare and I doubt I will ever meet anyone like Keith again. I will hope to be writing a tribute article to Keith for ‘Hastings Town’ magazine when I feel able…

Alan Esdaile… Shocked to hear this Tony. I saw him about a month ago at Tesco’s and we had a long chat and he looked the same as he always did. Very sad news.

Colin Bell… That’s very sad news, i hadn’t seen him for a while, but we go all the way back to The Pier in 1967. never without his coat & a carrier bag. RIP.

Graham Sherrington… Sad news.

Alan Esdaile… I remember him always down the pier early afternoon to catch the groups and acts as they arrived and get various items signed and photographs. Also seeing him many times even in the pouring rain, waiting outside the White Rock Theatre to get autographs and photos. He had incredible music knowledge and always had an interesting story to tell. So sad.

Tracy Birrell… I didn’t know him but that’s so sad.I am sorry.

Marilyn Spence… Me neither but so sad to hear RIP Keith

Steve Hamilton… That’s is a massive shame. My father knew of him somewhat back in the 70s/80s.. I remember reading online the Lynsey De Paul Birthday story and it reminded me of some strange Paul McCartney no-shoes-in-the-Old-Town account I am sure he mentioned to my dad back in the Wings era.

Kathy Wood… Gosh, I knew his parents, but he often used to post ‘interesting newspaper articles through my dad’s door. Sad news indeed.

Clive Richardson… A very good friend and walking encyclopedia of music. Keith always had something interesting to say. He will be sadly missed.

Tracy Birrell… I did know Keith by sight and an occasional chat on the bus but didn’t know his name ! I passed his flat this morning on Battle Road and realised who he was. I thought of him as raincoat man in my head, as he always had it on, even in 30 degree heat. I remember him as a quiet, reclusive gentleman and would have liked to have known him. I just hope he didn’t die alone. Did he have family? A great character of Hastings, and I am saddened that he has gone.

Tony May… I have now heard from Keith Tooke’s family that his funeral is to be ‘close family only’ so unfortunately I won’t get a proper chance to say farewell to my old mate… I will never forget him though and shall not forget the great times we had talking music…

Tony May… I went to the Police station today to see if I might be put in touch with the lady( from a cafe Keith frequented) who reported Keith as a ‘missing person’ on April 11th. I am trying to find and make contact with Keith’s lady friend ‘Jo’ who lives (I think) in West St Leonards and so I was thinking she and the cafe lady might be the same. No joy I’m afraid as police said they could only put me in contact with Keith’s family and i have already been down that route…The woman who turned up at Keith’s flat on April 11th was around her 40’s and had long black hair. She was also driving a black car. Do you know ‘Jo’? Do you remember seeing Keith in any particular cafe on a regular basis? I know the lady is not the person who runs the cafe he frequented in Bexhill? If anyone can help I would be very grateful. Keith often spoke of ‘Jo’ in his letters and i would love to meet her now he is gone…

Tracy Birrell… I have just walked past his flat and it is so sad to see someone’s life outside in a skip……

Tony May… I have now completed a tribute article for ‘Autograph Keith’ and submitted it to ‘Hastings Town’ magazine. With any luck it should be in the next issue out at the beginning of June. Writing it has been difficult as I still can’t believe he is gone but at least now he will have something to be remembered by that will live on in the British library…