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Jean-Philippe Madjar was a well known as a busker in Canterbury High Street

By Alex Claridge

City centre busker Jean-Philippe Madjar, who has died aged 75, was a Cambridge University graduate who played his guitar to make money for cigarettes.

Known to his friends and family as JP, he was one of Canterbury’s most recognisable figures as he sat on a little chair in the High Street with a hat on the ground in front of him.

He busked for the cash of passers-by because his wife Diana refused to let him spend his own money on smoking. He was often seen with a cigarette drooping from his lips as he strummed calypso rhythms.

Jean-Philippe madjar busking outside the Abode Hotel in Canterbury.

Ultimately, however, smoking would contribute to his death. Mr Madjar died of an heart attack at his city centre home on July 18 – the night which saw sheet lightning illuminate the city’s skies.

Mr Madjar was born and grew up in Paris. He came to England to study engineering at Cambridge University in the 1960s before going on to work for his uncle’s shipping company in America. He met his wife to be in Paris in 1979. She had gone there to teach for a year.

They had their son, Jules, in 1981 and then married in 1993. The couple continued to live in Paris, where Mr Madjar worked as a translator and interpreter. They moved to England, a country Mr Madjar adored, in 2001, setting up home in central Canterbury.

Jean-Philippe Madjar strums his guitar while punting on the River Cam while a student at Cambridge University.

Mr Madjar retired aged 60 and indulged in the things he enjoyed – especially music. He would often play his baby grand piano, listen to Classic FM or take his guitar into the street.

Jules, also a musician, urged him to use a busking amp so people could hear him better, but he resisted and played acoustically.

He lived for simple pleasures and was an avid reader, mainly in his garden. As well as coffee and cigarettes, he liked watching sitcoms and was especially fond of M.A.S.H., Frazier and The Big Bang Theory.

Jean-Philippe Madjar was a well-known face in Canterbury,

Mr Madjar also enjoyed visiting The Dolphin in St Radigund’s Street where he dined on deep-fried Brie or went to Dems French Brasserie in St Peter’s Street for a croque madame.

His family are hoping to repatriate his remains to France for his funeral. They are also planning to hold a memorial service in Canterbury in October.

Mr Madjar is survived by his wife and son and the family’s dog and cat.

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