The proud grandson of a Keighley-bred professional boxer who fought during the sport’s heyday has taken over a struggling town centre pub and is set to re-name it in his memory.
Landlord Keith Vear will also name a beer after his grandfather Herman Vear, who fought under the name Percy Vear in the 1920s and 30s, when he re-opens the former Friendly Inn in Aireworth Street, Keighley.
Percy Vear, a “colourful character” who was born just before the First World War in Crossflatts, boxed at flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight in 131 bouts during his five-year professional career.
The pub will be re-named Percy Vear’s Real Ale House when it re-opens after Mr Vear struck a deal to buy it with Timothy Taylor, the Keighley-based brewery which has owned it for about 80 years.
He and his wife Tracey will serve Percy’s Pint, a beer brewed by Empire Brewery in Huddersfield, as well as local and guest ales.
Mr Vear, 39, said: “My family originates from the Keighley area and my dad and his brothers and sisters were brought up there, so now, after about 40 years, we are going back, taking over the pub and re-naming it as a great way to remember my grandad. It is in tribute to him.”
The boxer was one of three fighters under the management of Keighley boxing promoter Sam Scaife during the sport’s boom years and topped the bill at boxing halls across the country.
His first professional fight aged just 17 saw the then flyweight Vear lose a six-round contest on points to Bradford-born Young Broadley at a packed Drill Hall, Keighley, in February 1929.
Following his boxing career, Percy Vear, a married father-of-three, was involved with Keighley Town football club as a fitness and exercise coach to the team, which played in the old Yorkshire League for two years in the late 1940s before folding.
It was subsequently reformed in 1981 by former Wales and Bradford City footballer Trevor Hockey. His grandson said the new pub will be the third in West Yorkshire taken over by Mr Vear under the Cask Taverns Ltd. Company.
He said: “We are hoping to do the same as we have done with the other pubs and hoping to make a success of it at a time when pubs are struggling.”