born in Rossendale, Lancashire on 5th Feb 1962
He started his business career in 1979 when he
was 17 years old. He opened his first market stall selling costume
jewellery on Accrington Market for the early part of his business
career and held down 3 jobs - standing the local markets by day,
selling alarm systems door-to-door early evenings, then waiting
on behind the bar of his local night club at night.
Kevin’s first big business breakthrough came
in December 1983 when he opened his ‘Eye Shop’ The ready
made reading spectacles shop. It opened in Accrington
amid a blaze of national publicity. During this time it was
illegal to sell spectacles by anyone other than a qualified Ophthalmic
Optician. He soon realised that this was monopolistic trading at
its very best and began to challenge the law on the sale of ready
made reading glasses in the U.K.
It wasn’t long before the opticians ruling
body The General Optical Council took out simultaneous private prosecutions
in an attempt to stop his ‘hugely popular’ trade in the
sale of ready made reading spectacles.
Kevin was hailed instantly as the ‘Pioneer
of Cut Price Reading Glasses’ with prices starting at just £3.50
per pair. It wasn’t long before his business antics
and court cases became the subject of many National Newspaper Headlines.
Indeed he was one of TV A.M’s first television guests when
his plight to bring lower prices to the market place was highlighted
to the nation by a very young presenter, Anne Diamond.
The debate and his court cases raged on whilst young
Kevin quickly established a North West chain of twelve spectacles
shops, all doing a roaring trade.
He successfully fought the actions by the G.O.C.
UNTIL Margaret Thatcher’s’ Government saw the merit in
Kevin’s personal plight and in early 1987 decided to change
the law to enable non qualified opticians the right to sell spectacles
without the need of a prescription. This had a massive impact on
the spectacle buying public and it wasn’t long before the flood
gates opened to reveal hitherto unheard of Optical Competition. Many
national optical brands were established around this time. Kevin
then re-branded his business from The Eye Shop to Spex Opticians,
employing qualified Opticians.
A still very young Kevin had notched up
a considerable debt brought about by his vigorous defending of
his 3 optical court cases brought originally by the G.O.C. and
it took a few years for Kevin to repay this, but repay he did.
In 1987 however a new career was dawning. Kevin
had already supplied spectacles to some of the actors of Granada
Televisions Manchester Studios. Realising that Kevin was
an animal lover, Granada asked him if he could supply some animals
for the nations best loved soap ‘Coronation Street’.
Kevin dutifully agreed and there began an association with the
programme that lasted some 18 years, supplying everything from
the cat on the roof to
Jacks Pigeons, Hilda’s cat and even Mavis’s Budgie.
During this time Kevin was in great demand for his ‘Animal
Services’ The name of his Star Pet Agency - Pet Role. The
agency’s list of credits (programmes that they had worked on)
was spectacularly impressive. Pet Role worked on some of the nations
top T.V Programmes.
During this time Granada T.V. were piloting a new
format for I.T.V. called ‘This Morning’ hosted by a little
known husband and wife team called Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.
Kevin had started supplying animals for them from the early start
however he did not get his ‘on screen’ calling until
the year after when he was called upon to judge the ‘This Morning’ Pet
of the Year Competition. Many, many T.V appearances followed and
even an attempt to poach him by the BBC’S Good
Morning with Anne and Nick and Channel 4’s Big Breakfast with
Chris Evens. However, Kevin stayed loyal to the programme and continued
for a further 8 years just before the programmes famous move to London.
early T.V. career many celebrities had called upon his skills and
services to supply them their own individual pets, this resulted
in Kevin’s two books which were ‘Pets and personalities
on Coronation Street’ and ‘Star Dogs’.
Kevin had continued to meet many celebrities
who he had either interviewed for one of his books or who he had
interviewed for infrequent articles for the T.V Times or his regular
column in the Sunday People newspaper.
Since then Kevin has been a regular columnist for
national magazines such as ‘Mad about Dogs’, Sainsbury’s
Magazine and ‘On the Air’ to mention just a few.
The Crufts Dog Show has always been a great
love of Kevin’s from having his first show ticket in 1993 to
present day Kevin can often be seen during the Annual Crufts Week
(in March) welcoming celebrities to the show on behalf of various
UK charities and The Kennel Club.
Kevin has been a director and major shareholder
since 1999 in the canine and feline publishing group ‘Our Dogs’ and ‘Our
Cats’ The weekly national newspapers set up in 1897 by Theo
A lot of Kevin’s charitable work stemmed from
his long association with Our Dogs, having regularly raised funds
for The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, Manchester Dogs, Pets as Therapy
and Lords House Farm, of which he is a Trustee.
Kevin has for many years had a great interest in
Spiritualism, having attending his first Spiritualist Church by accident
as a young boy in 1976, ever since then he has dipped in and out
of the faith.
Kevin recently said, that he believes the one
great connector in the life he has led so far has been that of animals,
dogs in particular. They have brought him in to extraordinary situations
and created incredibly interesting and rewarding associations with