Singer Paul Heaton has been praised for his generosity, after the final editor of Q Magazine revealed how he supported staff when the publication closed.
Writing on Twitter, Ted Kessler explained how the star made a large donation to the magazine, which was shared amongst 40 staff.
“It really was the most amazingly kind, selfless, generous act,” he said. “For some, it meant a bill could be paid.”
In thanks, the staff commissioned a Q Award to honour the star.
Receiving it on Friday, Heaton thanked the magazine for its support and the “kind words” about his donation.
“It was just meant to make sure people weren’t left on their arse,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.
Kessler, who was at the helm of Q Magazine when it closed in July, shared the story on what would have been the date of the annual Q award ceremony.
“We had the Roundhouse booked for two nights for the Q Awards next week,” he wrote on Twitter. “We didn’t have talent sorted when we had to Covid cancel in April, but Nadine Shah was presenting and the two gigs were Liam Gallagher one night, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott the other.
“The only award we knew for sure was to Paul Heaton, as we’d heard he’d never won one.
“Think of all the brilliant songs he’s written for The Housemartins, Beautiful South, etc. Millions of records sold. No Q award (or Brit) for his songwriting. So we knew he’d be Classic Songwriter.
“Then, a few days after Q closed, we got a message from him saying that to thank Q for all the support we’d given him over 35 years, he was going to donate a large sum to thank us in our turmoil. Obviously, I politely declined.
“He was insistent. I accepted the donation and shared it amongst over 40 staff and freelancers working for Q at the time, all of whose minds – like mine – were blown.”
Posting a photo of Heaton’s award, Kessler concluded: “We got him that award in the end. Britain’s greatest living pop star. A true legend.”
Fans welcomed the anecdote with an outpouring of joy and gratitude.
“Such a non-2020 thing to happen,” said Mat Osman, bassist for Suede. “A musician who I love is suddenly trending and it turns out that it’s just because he’s a lovely guy.”
“This kind of thing is just enough to retain faith in human nature. What a wonderful thing to do,” added BBC 6 Music’s Shaun Keaveny.
“A proper working class hero,” added one fan, while another commented: “Paul Heaton and his songs have pulled me out of very dark times. He deserves all the kudos, awards and love that goes his way,” added another user.
“This,” concluded film director Edgar Wright, “is lovely”.
Heaton, who was formerly a member of the Housemartins and The Beautiful South, is known for his generosity.
In 2017, he revealed that he had offered all the royalties from his back catalogue to the government – meaning that every time a hit like Happy Hour, Rotterdam or Perfect 10 was played, the money would be used to fund schools and the NHS.
“I felt I’d made enough money from them, I didn’t want to nationalise my savings, as such, I was just saying this was a gift to the British public,” he told Channel 5’s Matthew Wright programme.
However, he said, the offer was turned down.
The star was also due to play a free concert for NHS staff on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis next week, along with his current singing partner Jacqui Abbott.
The show, in Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena, has been rescheduled for April, due to ongoing restrictions on live events.