Beloved St Albans ‘accordion man’ dies age 86

Photo courtesy of Gary Shore

Photo courtesy of Gary Shore - Credit: Archant

Tributes have flooded social media following the death of a beloved accordion player.

John ‘Paddy’ Delaney, commonly known as the ‘accordion man of St Albans’, spent more than 35 years charming market goers with his cheery tunes and nursery rhymes.

Following his death on Tuesday (31), aged 86, countless people took to social media to pay their respects.

On his dedicated Facebook page, ‘The Accordion Man of St Albans Appreciation Society’, Natalie Wentworth, a fan, said: “He managed to bridge the generations, he and his music loved by all he came into contact with. I will miss him and his enthusiasm very much. He holds a special place in my heart, as he does in the hearts of many.”

Another, Philip Orde, said: “He was part of our growing up in the city and was always cheerful. The delight on the children’s faces as he sang and played is what I remember.

“If you were fed up or preoccupied with your own affairs on approaching you would always manage to snap out of it and get momentarily cheered up. A monument of some kind would be very appropriate. Best wishes to his family and friends. Thank you.”

Neeki Arab also posted: “Paddy encouraged my piano playing when I was little, when he heard I played, he’d bring sheet music of the songs he always played for me so I could learn them too! I’ll always cherish those songs and the generosity he showed me. And I’ll keep that sheet music forever. RIP Paddy, you touched many lives.”

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Paddy, originally from Wales, lived in Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, and was an active member of the community and an organist at his local church.

Alongside his accordion playing, Paddy was an accomplished jazz pianist and a teacher who worked with children with learning difficulties.

The family have said anyone is welcome to his funeral, which will take place on April 24 at 10.30am at St Mary and St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Boxmoor.

Paddy died while in the care of the hospice of St Francis and the family have requested donations to the hospice instead of flowers.