'Happy Hour' for Ipswich pub to celebrate music legend's birthday

The Duke of York was one of just 60 pubs chosen by the music legend for fans to go and have a dr

The Duke of York was one of just 60 pubs chosen by the music legend for fans to go and have a drink on him to celebrate his birthday. Left to Right: Bar manager, Hannah Creed, Yatt Van Da Bronckhorst and Owner Chris Mapey - Credit: Archant

A popular Ipswich pub was chosen to celebrate the 60th birthday of music legend Paul Heaton as he put money behind the bar.

Heaton, from The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, put £60,000 behind 60 pubs in the UK, to celebrate his birthday on May 9, after his initial hopes of touring the UK were halted due to "recording delays".

The Duke of York in Ipswich was one of those chosen by the 'Happy Hour' singer and writer.

Embargoed to 0800 Wednesday July 3:PA Library file, dated 25/6/99, Paul Heaton, of pop band The Be

Paul Heaton performing at the 1999 Glastonbury Festival - Credit: PA

Chris Mapey, owner of The Duke of York, said: "It is a lovely gesture. We are delighted.

"I was in total shock when I heard we were picked.

"It was a random email, completely out of the blue, saying this is not a scam email, but you have been chosen by Paul as being one of the best in the UK.

Paul Heaton has put some money behind the bar at the Duke of York pub in Ipswich as part of his 60th

Owner Chris Mapey raising a glass to Paul. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"We were sworn to secrecy as well, there was no advanced posts on social media. We couldn't drop hints to anybody.

"I didn't even tell my team until yesterday (May 8), that's how closely guarded we kept it."

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Customers flocked to the pub on Woodbridge Road on May 9 for free drinks and to celebrate the musician's birthday.

Paul Heaton has put some money behind the bar at the Duke of York pub in Ipswich as part of his 60th

Paul Heaton has put some money behind the bar at the Duke of York pub in Ipswich as part of his 60th birthday celebrations. L-R Steve Langdon, Stephen Foster, Ray Slegg. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Chris and Julie Irving, from Birmingham, are big fans of the 'Song for Whoever' singer.

They were on holiday in Southwold when they saw the news, and visited the Ipswich pub to raise a glass to the musician.

Mr Irving said: "We've got every album and been to his tour. He did a video for my 50th birthday and we've met him four or five times. We are very big fans."

Paul Heaton has put some money behind the bar at the Duke of York pub in Ipswich as part of his 60th

Holiday makers and the first to get their free drinks, Claire Devereux, Julie Irving, Chris Irving and Bill Read. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mrs Irving added: "He just thinks of his fans an awful lot, he's done a lot for the NHS too, gave them free tickets to a lot of his gigs. It shows the sort of man he is.

Phil Hastie, another customer said: "I've seen The Beautiful South live four times.

"It's a fantastic idea – the next best thing to him being here. We can raise a glass to him on his birthday."

Customers went to celebrate the 60 year old's music legends birthday

Customers went to celebrate the 60 year old's music legends birthday - Credit: Duke of York

Ray Slegg and Steve Langdon, regulars at the pub, said: "I think the reason Paul chose this place was because it is a musical pub.

"Chris is doing a great thing for local musical talent and I think Paul recognises that."

Paul Heaton has put some money behind the bar at the Duke of York pub in Ipswich as part of his 60th

Bar manager Hannah Creed. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Two pubs in Norfolk – in Bodham in north Norfolk and The Eagle in Norfolk Street, King's Lynn – were chosen to help celebrate the singer's birthday.