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Hayes, the life of the party, dies

Kirsty Macnicol
The Southland Times
November 21, 2000


A BORN entertainer and the life of the party, Ces Hayes died at his home in Invercargill on Tuesday last week. He was 81.
Born at Kakanui, in North Otago, his father was a builder, who, during the Depression, had to travel around to get work. Mr Hayes went school at Maheno, Waikouaiti, Karitane, Caversham, Beaumont and Milton before the family settled on a dairy farm at Waimatuku, in Southland. Mr Hayes finished his schooling there as the dux.
He left school, aged about 15, and went to work on a farm.
At about the same time he started learning the bagpipes and it was not long before he was playing in the newly-formed Waimatuku Pipe Band.
At weekends he attended country dances where he met his "first real
girlfriend" Edith Hunter.
In 1940 Mr Hayes was called up for war. He took his bagpipes with him to Egypt in 1941 and a small army pipe band was formed. One of the drummers, Rae Sutherland, also played banjo. He and Mr Hayes formed a popular duo.
On his return home, Mr Hayes joined the Invercargill Caledonian Pipe
Band in 1945. He and Edith Hunter were married in 1946.
A few years later, Mr Hayes and Mr Sutherland teamed up again. Talked into entering a nationwide radio talent quest, hosted by Selwyn Toogood, they emerged the winners their prize a tin of paint each.
Feeling they needed more depth of sound, they recruited double bass player Bob Fraser and so the Three Scotch Bs banjo, bagpipes and bass was formed.
It was a popular group and often played live on Sunday night radio.
In 1970, Mr Hayes was made a life member of the pipe band and continued to play until about 1984.
The Three Scotch Bs, albeit with a couple of personnel changes, continued to entertain Southland audiences until about two years ago when Mr Hayes decided he had "run out of puff" .
Whether by himself, with the trio, the pipe band, or the RSA Tin Hat Club where he organised the entertainment for many years and in 1978 became a life member, Mr Hayes earned a reputation as the life of the party.
His antics were legendary. A favourite was how he used to lie on the floor while playing the bagpipes, never missing a beat.
Two others could then lift him on to a table or bar and he would stand up again all the time playing a tune.
In 1985 the new South City shopping mall was built next to Mr Hayes' home and he was appointed unofficial custodian.
Having done a stint as Santa Claus at H and J Smith Ltd in 1983-84, he offered to take on the role in the new mall. An exhausting but rewarding job, he fronted up in the red suit every Christmas for the next 15 or more years.
As a founding member of the Southland Ceilidh Society, Mr Hayes was again at the forefront of the entertainment scene. He held various roles, including president, and at the time of his death was the society's chieftain.
Mr Hayes is survived by his wife Edith, four sons, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.



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