In memory of Keith Shawcross 1942-2020
Keith Shawcross might have seemed to be a typical local solicitor, looking after his clients for more than 50 years in the same area.
But Keith began his working life as a violinist and later taught music. In 1963 Keith joined his uncle Cyril Shawcross’ firm Burt Evans & Shawcross in Ross as an articled clerk, qualified and became a partner, but never lost his love of music.
He wasn’t satisfied with enjoying music himself; he wanted others to enjoy it too – one colleague said: “I remember Shawcross & Co-sponsoring a Gilbert and Sullivan performance at the Baptist Church [during the Ross-on-Wye International Festival in the mid-1990s] and he was insistent that all the younger members of staff went so that they listen to something rather than pop music.
“He told us that we would all enjoy it – I know I was sceptical at the time but he was right and we all had a fabulous time and he even took us to the pub afterwards.”
He was known as a generous host – he was genuinely interested in the people he met and drew people to him. One colleague said: “He was hugely sociable and he genuinely listened to what people had to say. He had a wicked sense of humour, teasing people or playing pranks on them – he was just a real people person.”
His generosity extended to many local charities, to whom he gave his legal expertise pro bono.
He worked hard, often appearing in the office before 7am and dropping in at weekends – one colleague said: “He was very loyal and he had an unshakeable belief in client service – once a client had had Keith acting for them, they would always want him again, if at all possible.”
As well as having a strong following of business and private clients both locally and nationally – he specialised in buying and selling rural properties and businesses, from farms and estates to builders’ merchants and garages – he was also a notary public.
His love of motoring, which showed itself in plenty of visits to hill climbs, and through his membership of the Prescott Hill Climb, meant that it was no surprise to anyone in the office when he acquired a new red Porsche.
Another colleague said: “He looked after his staff and always asked after them and their family. He was a true gentleman and a wonderful employer to work for.”
A service of thanksgiving, celebrating Keith’s life was held on Tuesday 28 January at St Mary’s Church, Ross-on-Wye.