Community-funded memorial plaque of beloved St Albans ‘accordion man’ installed

PUBLISHED: 16:44 10 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:44 10 August 2016

Artist Mandy Reekie who designed the plaque and Melanie Wall who organised it. Photo credit: Barry Lang

Artist Mandy Reekie who designed the plaque and Melanie Wall who organised it. Photo credit: Barry Lang

Archant

A plaque to commemorate a beloved accordion player has been installed more than a year after £1700 was raised at a busking event.

Photo courtesy of Barry LangPhoto courtesy of Barry Lang

John ‘Paddy’ Delaney, an accordion player who busked at St Albans Market, died in March 2015 prompting an outpour of grief from the community.

Following his death more than 1000 people signed a petition for a memorial plaque to be installed near his busking spot on Upper Dagnall Street in St Albans.

In July last year a busking day was held in his memory to raise money for the plaque, which was approved by the council soon after.

On Tuesday the plaque, designed by local artist Mandy Reekie, was installed.

The Accordion Man is an iconic face throughout St AlbansThe Accordion Man is an iconic face throughout St Albans

Melanie Wall, who organised the busking event and the plaque, said: “Some people said to me they thought it might not happen but I never doubted that it would happen.

“Everyone is so behind it and loved him. It is lovely to see it in the ground and its such a beautiful plaque, I feel so proud.”

She continued: “I’m very grateful to be part of such an amazing community who all came together to raise the money.”

Throughout the process Melanie, a singer and stylist who lives in St Albans, has been in constant contact with Paddy’s family.

She said: “I’ve had an email from his family who are just so touched that he’ll be remembered forever. They are grateful for all the work that has gone into this.”

An official unveiling ceremony will be held on September 3 where once again buskers will take to the street to perform in Paddy’s memory.

The Mayor of St Albans will officially open it at 11am but music will continue throughout the day until 3pm.

There is still money left over from the £1700 raised, and Melanie is talking to the family about where to donate the rest.

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