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Howard McKay was born into a comfortable middle class family in Derby in 1946, the austere post WW2 years. At the age of five he moved to Manchester where his father had secured a new job. At the age of twelve his life received a major jolt when his father was sent to jail. Life on the financial front became very tough. Despite many difficulties, Howard gained a place at Newcastle upon Tyne in an era when universities took only 5% of his peer group. His parents divorced and if all that was not sufficient, at the end of his first university year he was told that his father had committed suicide. According to modern convention, Howard McKay should have been a dysfunctional failure.
Marrying soon after university and becoming a father at the age of twenty three, life remained austere. For five years Howard McKay worked as a mining engineer with the National Coal Board before moving to work on an underground railway project in Liverpool. Then came the major life changing move to Hong Kong where he would remain for the next 27 years working mostly on rail infrastructure projects until finally retiring in 2002.
In Hong Kong, Howard McKay suffered another set-back when he found that his university girlfriend and now wife, was having an affair with an airline pilot. An acrimonious divorce followed, however his new life as a single man would lead on to much fun and adventure, not to mention a money making business.
Howard had been given a guitar at the age of eleven as a reward for passing the entrance exam to Grammar School. He soon became an adept player and this, coupled with his singing talent led on to regular gigs at pubs and social events in Hong Kong. Seeing the popularity of live music performances, Howard then opened his own bar in 1985 and, since then, has opened seven more venues.
Sport has always been a major part of Howard McKay’s life and, besides running, squash and football, he had a long spell in off-road motorcycle competition. He also took part in the more unusual sports of Dragon Boat racing, Rickshaw racing, Sedan Chair racing and Pedal Car racing. He has been a member of the Hash House Harriers for 32 years.
He re-married in 1997 and now lives with his Filipina wife, Lisa, in the Philippines.