A PENKETH shopkeeper and childhood best friend to Sir Paul McCartney has sadly died.

The son of much-loved news agent’s owner Kenneth Cahill said his dad’s friendship with The Beatles star was his ‘claim to fame’.

Growing up in Speke, Kenneth and Paul both lived only a few doors down from each other on Western Avenue.

Kenneth’s son Chris, 51, from Penketh, revealed how the pair would hang out together and both attended Stockton Wood Primary School in Speke before moving up to Joseph Williams Junior.

“He was best friends with Paul,” Chris said. “They would play out together and my dad was friends with his brother Mike McCartney.

“My nan took them both for their first day at The Liverpool Institute on the bus.”

Warrington Guardian: Kenneth Cahill (bottom circle) was in the same year as Sir Paul McCartney (top circle) in Stockton Wood Primary School, SpekeKenneth Cahill (bottom circle) was in the same year as Sir Paul McCartney (top circle) in Stockton Wood Primary School, Speke (Image: Supplied)
Both bright sparks in their class, Chris told how only three pupils in that year group at Joseph Williams Junior passed their 11 plus exams to progress onto the all-boys grammar school – with Kenneth and Paul being among the minority.

Cherishing the childhood memories he shared with his classmate who went on to become a music icon and band member of The Beatles, Kenneth kept his class pictures which showed him and McCartney beaming back at the camera in their school uniforms, along with the rest of their class.

The Stockton Wood class picture which he kept and later auctioned off to the Beatle City Exhibition in Liverpool shows all the pupils’ signatures on the back of the picture, including a clear one that reads ‘Paul McCartney’.

“The whole class signed the back of each other’s pictures that year and you can tell it is my dad’s signed picture because his signature is the only one not on it because they didn’t sign their own,” Chris explained.

Warrington Guardian: Kenneth Cahill (circled on left) was in the same year as Sir Paul McCartney (circled on right) at The Liverpool InstituteKenneth Cahill (circled on left) was in the same year as Sir Paul McCartney (circled on right) at The Liverpool Institute (Image: Supplied)
The McCartney's moved to a house in Allerton shortly after Paul joining The Institute, number 20 Forthlin Road, now a National Trust property and labelled ‘the birthplace of The Beatles’, and this is where Kenneth and Paul sadly drifted and went their separate ways.

Upon leaving the school in 1960, Kenneth went on to be an aviation engineer. He met his wife and the mother of his two children Edna Cahill and they moved, both aged 20, to Penketh where he lived for the remainder of his life.

Meanwhile McCartney took a slightly different career road following his time at the grammar school, joining John Lennon’s skiffle group The Quarrymen in 1957 which later evolved into the rock band sensation, The Beatles, in 1960.

Warrington Guardian: The BeatlesThe Beatles (Image: free)
While continuing to pursue his successful career in aviation, Kenneth also bought a newsagents on Meeting Lane KA & E Off-licence in 1982, which him and his wife would go on to run as a family business.

“He was the first person in Warrington to get The Lottery. They opened on January 10. He had the first pound note they made at the shop framed with a message underneath of what they bought with it.”

Warrington Guardian: Kenneth's signed school picture shows The Beatles singer's signatureKenneth's signed school picture shows The Beatles singer's signature (Image: Supplied)
Eventually Kenneth went on to leave his work in aviation and focus on the business which turned into a family affair.

“Dad and mum worked really hard. They only had ten days off a year where they would travel the world on different cruises.”

Kenneth sold the business in 2001 following his battle with lung cancer which left him having part of his lung removed – he successfully fought off the disease.

Chris, who works as a planning engineer, said his dad was a ‘funny’ character and well-known figure within the community who would always be a part of the community spirit.

“He was part of the pantomime at St Joesph’s. He would stand on the front with a tuxedo on and take the tickets. He would have the odd line too.”

Warrington Guardian: Kenneth Cahill died on January 6, 2024 at Warrington HospitalKenneth Cahill died on January 6, 2024 at Warrington Hospital (Image: Supplied)
Kenneth died on January 6, aged 82, at Warrington Hospital peacefully and surrounded by loved ones.

The cast that performs the annual pantomime held a standing ovation every night of the week following the announcement of his death, in remembrance of Kenneth.

Describing Kenneth’s character, the dad-of-two added: “He was funny, a typical scouser, a big Liverpool fan, he never really lost his routes.

“He was always there for us, always cracking the jokes. He will be missed massively.”