Star for Joe, the pride of Sheffield

HE'S no ordinary Joe - but he's never been one to forget where he came from, either.

And that’s precisely why Joe Scarborough felt so honoured to see his name included in Sheffield’s walk of fame yesterday.

The one-time lab assistant, miner, gardener, labourer and washer-upper is now recognised around the world as a leading artist.

He’s had many an accolade in his time, but few can have invoked such raw emotion in a Sheffield bloke who has been honoured by his city.

Addressing the gathering who braved the rain to see his bronze star unveiled outside Sheffield Town Hall, the Pitsmoor-born painter spoke of his immense pride.

Glancing towards the pavement into which his star is etched, he said: “To have something like that down there means an enormous amount, not only to me but to my family.”

Choking back tears, he then thanked his fellow Sheffielders for bestowing upon him the honour of seeing his star alongside the likes of those dedicated to Derek Dooley, Michael Palin, Seb Coe and a host of other Sheffield legends.

“There is nothing in life beats good food, good wine, and good company,” he added. “And today I am in great company.”

Before the ceremony Joe told The Star he had many opportunities over the years to move away from the city and ply his trade in other parts of the world - but he said there was never a chance of him leaving.

He spoke of his first day at Thorpe Hesley pit when he went underground with polished boots and a shirt and tie, and fondly remembered his first encounter with the quick-witted boss.

“He asked my name,” said Joe, “and I stood up bolt upright and said, ‘Scarbor-ough, J, sir’.

“The deputy turned to me and said, ‘I’m going to call you Filey cos it’s easier to spell’.”

Lord Mayor Jane Bird paid tribute to a man she described as “a wonderful role model for those who have a real desire to succeed in their life's ambition”.

But Joe’s biggest accolade came from fellow Sheffield artist Pete McKee.

“There is a genuineness about Joe’s art work,” he said.

“He does it purely for love. Every painting is from the heart - you can’t fake that.

“That is why people love Joe and his work.”

n Log on to The Star’s website www.thestar.co.uk-/video to see footage of Joe Scarborough unveiling his plaque.