From Merseybeat to Bonsai – A Life Well-lived

Community | 10 November 2023

From Merseybeat to Bonsai – A Life Well-lived

Ken Shalliker always brought huge creativity and passion to whatever he took on in life, and to those who knew and loved him, his enthusiasm was inspiring.

Ken became a fixture on the highly influential Merseybeat music scene in the 1960s, playing Bass Guitar as an original member of The Kingsize Taylor and the Dominos, who helped to create the world-famous Merseyside sound. He was also an active session member of many of the other Merseybeat groups.

His passion for playing guitars led to him becoming a qualified Luthier, a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars. Over the years Ken designed and built all manner of original stringed instruments, mainly of the Rock n Roll variety, which even led to some of his instruments being included in an exhibition at The Museum of Liverpool.

In his 20s Ken fell in love with the ancient art of Bonsai, the skill of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed varieties of trees and shrubs in pots. It became much more than a hobby though, with Ken helping to found the National Bonsai Society. He displayed and sold his beloved Bonsai for over 40 years at Southport Flower Show, and was awarded numerous awards during that time.

Ken was also an active member of ‘Merseycats’, a Rock n Roll charity founded by the original Merseybeat bands in the 60’s, and later became a member of the ‘Merseyrats’, playing every week for children’s charities and helping to raise thousands for worthy local causes over the years.

Aside from his passion for music and Bonsai, Ken’s great love was for his family. As a husband, father, grand-father, colleague and friend, Ken created memories that will last a lifetime and his legacy lives on not only through the beloved miniatures trees he cultivated for decades, but also through the many lives he touched along the way.

One of Ken’s last gifts was to bequeath his beloved Bonsai collection to Queenscourt Hospice, as a thank you for the exceptional care given to his late daughter, Janet. Ken wanted to acknowledge the outstanding support Janet and the whole family received from #teamqueenscourt, as they managed to create a happy, warm environment where treasured memories were created at the saddest of times, something he was eternally grateful for.

Ken’s Bonsai were auctioned by the National Bonsai Society and raised a massive £9651 for Queenscourt. As a small local charity with a big reach, Ken’s legacy will help #teamqueenscourt to continue providing exceptional compassionate care for patients and their families, when they need it the most.


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