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Former Beatles musician, Chas Newby, dies at 81

CHAS Newby, a one-time bass player with The Beatles, died of bowel cancer on Monday (22nd May), aged 81.

The retired high school maths teacher from Alcester played several gigs with the band in late 1960. He stood in for Stuart Sutcliffe who wanted to concentrate on his career as an artist.

Declining the opportunity to join the group, he went back to college to continue his chemistry studies, eventually gaining a masters degree in chemical engineering from Manchester University.

Chas Newby, left, playing at Alcester Street Market with The Racketts.
Chas Newby, left, playing at Alcester Street Market with The Racketts.

He moved to Alcester in 1971 with his late wife Margaret after getting work with Triplex, the safety glass company.

Born in Blackpool but raised in Liverpool from when he was an infant, Mr Newby was a contemporary of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison and friends with Pete Best, the band’s drummer. In 2016 he joined the reformed Quarrymen, toured with them in Europe and performed at Beatles festivals.

He was well known in Alcester for playing with cover band, The Racketts and was a member of Alcester Male Voice Choir.

On behalf of The Racketts, Dave Cowell told the Herald: “All the band members admired and respected Chas, not just for being a Beatle, but for being a great mate and a great musician. He had such a wonderful balance about his ‘almost a Beatle’ story. It could have been viewed as a tragically unfulfilled account, but he always viewed his life as a happy one.

Judith Land BEM, founder and director of music, Alcester Male Voice Choir, said: “Chas was a genuine, devoted member of Alcester Male Voice Choir who supported us for 23 years. He will be greatly missed by all of us for his pleasant manner and displaying his exceptional musicality when giving occasional solo performances accompanying himself on guitar.”

Mr Newby’s wife died in 1992 and he is survived by a son, daughter and four grandchildren.

His funeral will be on Tuesday, 13th June at 11.45am at St Nicholas’ Church, Alcester followed a private service at Redditch Crematorium for family members. A wake will be held at the Holly Bush, Alcester to which all are welcome.

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