Sometimes, quite unexpectedly, you meet someone either online or in person who has a great vibe. By that, I don’t mean that you are physically attracted to them, or want a relationship with them. But what I do mean is that they have a great heart, personality, charisma or some other attribute that makes them likeable.
Last week I came across a character just like that. He calls himself Captain Beany. I was struck by his selfless attitude and persistence. He does so much for other people and his whole ethos is about trying to make the best of what you have, as well as helping others on a regular basis.
He doesn’t let lack of money stop him living his dream. He really is a man who is on a mission to make the lives of others better whenever he can.
I was so impressed by Captain Beany’s attitude that I decided to ask him some questions –
Q) When did you obsession with baked beans start?
A) I guess that as a young lad growing up and attending school in my early days, I practically lived on them at every conceivable lunchtime during my dinner hour. Beans with this, beans with that so to speak. Predominately, I was heavily influenced by those old black and white television commercials in the early 1960’s with the Beans! Means! Heinz! adverts. Beanwashed you could may say.
Q) Why baked beans?
A) I wanted to create a world record for all prosperity with the purpose of literally performing a charitable stunt for inclusion towards the Guinness Book of Records and after coming across an old album sleeve cover by THE WHO from a charity shop, I thought if the lead singer, Roger Daltrey can lay in a bath of baked beans, then so could I. I decided there and then to create a world record by immersing myself in a bath of cold baked beans during the month of September 1986 of ONE HUNDRED HOURS for a local charity. After those four days and four nights, the local community penned me as the ‘BEANMAN OF ABERAVON’ later on. The rest they say is haricot history and in May 1991, I changed my name by deed poll from mild mannered Barry Kirk to that of ‘CAPTAIN BEANY’ which now bizarrely, I’ve managed to convince Facebook to accept only recently as my bonified moniker.
Q) Tell us a little about your museum
A) After the death of my late mother back in November 1997, I took over the tenancy of our council apartment, and I decided to get over my bereavement and coming to terms with her loss by transforming the entire homestead to my unique colourful designed creations which my living room now is a shrine to the humble baked bean! I have shop fitted glass shelving to house all manner of various baked bean memorabilia based from the U.K, Europe and America continents. They range from something as small as a Heinz thimble to that of a large advertisement metal sign. I have predominately purchased mainly from auction sites and personal gifts from inquisitive visitors.
Q) How many visitors do you get?
A) I believe that since the advent of the television programme on Channel 4 called ‘Britain’s Weirdest Council Houses’ and inclusion on TripAdvisor now as 2017 Certificate of Excellence, I have phone calls from all over the country and beyond wishing to view my Baked Bean Museum Of Excellence from singletons to that of thirteen visitors at any time of the year. On average, I guess that well over one hundred and fifty per annum is the norm.
Q) Tell us about your charity work
A) I guess in my own heart, that I have been gifted to help others less fortunate than ourselves as a young lad performing house to house charity collections and gave me some personal self confidence meeting home residents and making myself proud for doing something that was so natural for me to do. I totally believe that I was destined to become someone who was born with an innate desire to help others. This may sound incredulous, I have utilised my creative ideas to formulate some fundraising ideas to generate donation sums of money for all manner of numerous charitable causes.
Q) Were you proud to be nominated for your awards?
A) I am very fortunate and humbled to have accepted a pair of local radio awards presented to me in 2009 & 2010 for my community charity fundraising. I feel that individually, I have made something of myself which I hope to pass on to others with my past experiences for those also to become future voluntary charity fundraisers.
Q) You describe your lifestyle as eccentric. Have you always been like that?
A) I felt that as I was growing up from a childhood perspective, I sometimes felt that I was kind of different from other kids as I used to make other kids laugh at my own expense in class. My desire to educate myself involving drama and art with my very own flair of creativity has left its indelible mark on my colourful charismatic character which I totally enjoy now to its fullest. The highest accolade that being presented with the Eccentric Club’s – GREAT BRITISH ECCENTRIC 2009 AWARD at Mayfair in London. You could say now that I am indeed a baked bean short of a full can!
Q) Who are your heroes? And why?
A) I have the utmost respect to those unsung ‘heroes’ within our local community who collectively give up all their time, effort and support to help those less fortunate than ourselves. They do not ask for anything but give everything with all their hearts, minds and souls. So I raise a toast to each and every one of you who have a caring disposition for others.
Q) What motivates you?
A) I have attempted to answer that question myself! I’ll guess that we all venture through life with all its trials and tribulations and it all boils down to the precious commodity that we sometimes currently lack called LOVE and not enough of it in this unstable world as we reside in now. If we all can only just make an effort to help each other out and come together in perfect peace and harmony, we can all have the motivation and not only myself.
Q) How do you keep going in what are sometimes difficult circumstances?
A) In all honestly, there was a period in my life where I almost lost myself in the real sense of the word when through my anxiety and depression some time ago, as to my emotional state was questioned. I went through some self seeking questions about my mental well being due to bereavements, low self esteem and lack of confidence, but now I have found peace and contentment through my faith in the church since becoming ‘born again’ as a Christian in November 2008 to this very day. I accept my life and trust in God with all my fears knowing that my foreseeable future is in the hands of my Lord Saviour Jesus Christ. My charitable deeds are all in the work of faith and in love of gratitude.
Q) If you had a message for my readers what would it be?
A) As the late, great Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley once said – ‘Live the life you love and love the way you live’.
Thank you for your answers Captain. I appreciate your honesty and would like to say thank you for your charity work. I am sure that it makes a big difference.
You can visit Captain Beany’s site here