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He died with his boots off; Local legend who spent 50yrs barefoot.

Byline: MATHEW GROWCOOT

A FORMER hippie who socked it to the man by refusing to wear anything on his feet since the mid-60s has died, aged 73.

Pete McKenzie was known as Pete the Feet for his barefoot style - even refusing to cover them in rain and snow.

And his 1970 wedding snaps with wife Jennifer show him proudly shoeless.

Combined with his distinctive Stetson hat and, later in life, his personalised mobility scooter, Pete became a local legend around pubs in Moseley, Birmingham, and the town of Alcester.

In a 2014 interview, Pete said: "I don't like shoes, or in fact anything on my feet. Even when I got married, I didn't wear shoes in church.

"My wife has maybe seen me wearing shoes once or twice but my daughter hasn't and my granddaughters definitely haven't. They just don't suit me, don't suit my feet. Since taking them off permanently, I've been called Pete the Feet. I won't put the buggers back on until the day I die."

After his family revealed he had passed away in his sleep, local Pete Lardner said: "Pete was a great guy and held in respect by many people.

"He will be sadly missed around Moseley. One of the last real characters."

Artist Rose Fraser, who painted Pete's portrait, added: "One of the most interesting people I've met. A true legend." Pete, a telephone exchange engineer from Cumbria who moved to Moseley in the 60s, said of his decision to go barefoot: "I never liked wearing shoes.

"I remember taking them off as a little kid and getting clouted by my mother. When I was 16 I took my shoes and socks off and flung them over a bridge. But I had to replace them.

"It was in my 20s I took my shoes off for good. In the 1960s you could do what you wanted."

And on braving the elements, he added: "My feet don't get cold in the winter. I always shock people when I walk in the pub and it's ice-cold outside."

Pete is survived by wife Jennifer.

Social media users have called for a campaign to honour him with a statue.

mirrornews@mirror.co.uk @DailyMirror

CAPTION(S):

SHOELESS On wedding day

god rest his soles Pete was popular figure in South Birmingham pubs

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 17, 2019
Words:385
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