All longtime Majorcan residents and visitors will have the fondest memories of those halcyon days at Wellies in Puerto Portals. However, sadly, this week saw the end of an era with the shock passing of owner and Wellies welcoming host Geoffrey Kenion (78 years old). The man who ingeniously created Majorca’s most loved and successful restaurant/ bar ever. With its friendly atmosphere and consistently good popular dishes (especially that legendry Wellie Burger) everyone always knew a table at Wellies would ensure a good time.
Family friendly, it was certainly, the first stop to take visitors to give them the best taste of our island social life. It was a first night must. Like going to a second home. The waiters felt like family, while Geoffrey presided with his debonair stylish flair and dry wit. His good memory and personal knowledge of each client made everyone feel welcome. Geoffrey’s cultivated theatrical voice gave that extra class. He was no ordinary ‘Master of the House’.
A trained actor, amongst his 14 films and television programmes, Geoffrey was in the original cast of Dixon of Doc Green as PC Roberts. “Evening All” he would joke. He had the ability to make all his customers feel like close friends. His cleverly designed upstairs bar area like a cosy front room where you could visit at any time of day to meet up with friends. In those days singles never felt lonely. There was always a welcome at Wellies. His long-time and much-loved bar manager Caroline, even secretly kept regular customers’ spare front door keys.
· “One of my oldest friends, a kind caring man and fun to be with. In fact, he was one of the main reasons I came to Majorca in the early 80s.” singer Leapy Lee.
· “With his policy of not allowing photos without permission, he made it a comfortable place for showbiz people to go. Every celebrity would go there while in Majorca. A place where all the beautiful people would gather.” Movie star and 60s icon Jess Conrad.
· “Loss of a legend. He was the face of the Port. Will be sadly missed.” Chris Williams.
· “He was always so gracious to me.” Ann Williamson.
·“He will be missed by so many. A true character and amazing host never to be replaced. Thank you so much for all those lovely Wellies memories. The best times ever!” Alec Bates.
· “Saddest news. Part of our Island history.” Catherine Sasson.
· “What memories he has given to all those many people who passed through Wellie’s door” Claire Martin.
· “He sure made life in Majorca fun!” Elizabeth Cain-Flynn.
· “He was always a good supporter of the Islander and Wellies was very much a part of the Portals culture.” Peter Franklin.
· “A true gentleman and great character!” Ann Dwyer owner of Delfinos.
Over a decade ago Geoffrey survived a serious heart attack in Canada while skiing. He returned somewhat shaken, but certainly not stirred. He was soon his vibrant self again. However, he became more sensitive to his health and exercise. I remember him telling me that he had been advised to drink a tablespoon of olive oil per day. So, he was using it to cook his morning fry up!
These perhaps borrowed years have enabled him to see his children and grandson grow. However, sadly the survival of complex heart surgery in Barcelona this week was not to be.
The Majorca Daily Bulletin, along with all his countless friends join me in sending sincerest and deepest condolences to Sally Ann, his wife of over 30 years, and his family.
His name will forever be in Majorcan history.