Shropshire Star

Tributes paid as 'marketing genius' Keith Pybus, who fell in love with Shropshire, dies at the age of 85

Historian and 'marketing genius' Keith Pybus, who has died at the age of 85, was such a huge fan of Shropshire that he refused to move away from the county to take up highly paid jobs.

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Keith Pybus in ‘hedgerow helmet’ on his last project ‘War Walks on the Home Front’

Mr Pybus left his mark all over the county including naming the Gingerbread Man and Clive & Coffyne pubs in Market Drayton, and writing and editing many books about the history of Shropshire and countryside walks.

While living in Market Drayton, the married father of two - along with his wife Meg - were responsible for re-invigorating the town’s historical links to gingerbread.

The year 1984 became the start of what Mr Pybus referred to as his Dilettante Years, when he decided against moving away for more money to focus on all things Shropshire.

Author and Historian, Keith Pybus giving guided walk to mark the centenary of the First World War. Pictured here walking round Market Drayton Cemetery. In Picture: Keith Pybus Giving talk about Cuthbert Everard Brisley

His job at Royal Doulton came to an end while he was 46 and still at the height of his creative powers.

"Keen to find ways to stay in his beloved Shropshire, he focused his marketing genius on the county and Market Drayton particularly through its food traditions," a eulogy to him reads.

A part of his legacy is the town's Ginger and Spice Festival. Market Drayton was his first experience of living in Shropshire and he was "totally smitten".

Mr Pybus helped his wife research, edit and publish her first book: a culinary history entitled ‘Under the Buttercross’. And from there, a second book was born, Shropshire’s Spicy Secret, all about gingerbread.

Local Historian, Keith Pybus, left and Town Councillor Nigel Woods prepare to set off from St Mary's Church in Market Drayton on the Murder and Mayhem Trail they created.

Mr Pybus's daughter Catherine, 55, said: "Keith was born in Birmingham and was a fan of walking and nature and loved Shropshire. He was obsessed with the county.

"He was a marketing man and worked for Royal Doulton in Stoke and others.

"But he absolutely loved Shropshire and all his energy went into finding things and using his marketing skills to promote the county. These included Market Drayton's historical link to gingerbread and making something of that."