Real ale legend, who revitalised city, dies, 64

Dave Wickett, of Fulwood, Sheffield... case study for carcer centre story  See Story Mike Waites  Picture by Chris Lawton'25 Oct  2011
Dave Wickett, of Fulwood, Sheffield... case study for carcer centre story See Story Mike Waites Picture by Chris Lawton'25 Oct 2011
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DAVE Wickett, founder of Sheffield’s nationally-acclaimed Kelham Island Brewery and The Fat Cat real ale pub, has died aged 64.

He passed away in the early hours of yesterday after a two year battle with cancer.

His pub, opened 31 years ago and the brewery that followed 10 years later, are credited with sparking the city’s real ale renaissance and helping to regenerate Kelham Island.

Last year, Dave was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award by the all-party Parliamentary Beer Group.

His legendary pub, in Alma Street, has won so many awards there is no longer room on its walls for new certificates. Patrons have included everyone from the Arctic Monkeys - who recorded part of a video there - to Ann Widdecombe.

Derek Dooley and Bryan Robson were regulars while Buddy Holly’s band The Crickets once proclaimed Kelham Island beer the best they ever tasted.

The man himself - a huge Sheffield United fan who contributed to match day programmes - insisted his secret was simple: keep the pub free of music so laughter is the soundtrack, put on home cooked meals every day and keep the beer changing.

Born in London, Dave, of Fulwood, moved to Sheffield to study at university in 1969. After working as an economics lecturer, he opened his pub in 1981.

He bought the abandoned Alma pub for £35,000 and set about transforming it. Such was its eventual success, in 1991 he opened the Kelham Island Brewery, in The Fat Cat’s garden. It now sells its beer around the world.

Dave was diagnosed with myeloma in 2010. He leaves wife Helen and son Ed, 21. Funeral details to be announced.