Memorial busking day for Accordion man is a success

Buskers perform one last song, ABBA's "Thank you for the music", in tribute to "the accordion man" P

Buskers perform one last song, ABBA's "Thank you for the music", in tribute to "the accordion man" Paddy Delaney who passed away earlier this year - Credit: Archant

People gathered in their hundreds to commemorate the passing of a much-loved accordion player on Saturday (4).

A memorial busking day in Upper Dagnall Street, St Albans, attracted many to pay their respects to Paddy Delaney, who played the accordion there on market days for more than 30 years.

The busking day featured performances from local musicians in a bid to raise money for a memorial plaque in Paddy’s honour.

Melanie Wall, who organised the day, said: “Words cannot describe how wonderful the busking event was but the crowds, the applause and the atmosphere spoke volumes.”

The collection is said to have raised an impressive £1,600 and counting.

Melanie went on: “It is a testament to the love and respect that St Albans folk had for Paddy The Accordion Man.”

Paddy’s family were there on the day and were presented with a surprise painting of Paddy by St Albans Artist Mandy Reekie.

Mandy said: “We had a wonderful day and Paddy’s family were really moved and humbled by the whole day. They were delighted with the picture. It is a unique edition print from an original, but is the only one with a green balloon, whereas the original, and any subsequent prints have a red balloon.”

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Five acts took to Paddy’s busking spot to perform a mix of original music and classic nursery rhymes to the crowds.

The day concluded with a finale of ‘Thank You For The Music’, where all the buskers performed together.

Melanie added: “It was a pleasure to meet his widow yesterday and many other members of the family who were clearly touched by the musical tributes and the reaction from the crowds.

“I want to thank all the buskers, the collectors and everyone who helped me make it such an unforgettable day - it has been a community effort and an event that has been a total pleasure to organise.”

A petition for the plaque received more than 1000 signatures and will be presented to the council today (Thursday).

Melanie added: “I will be keeping fingers crossed for a positive reaction so we can then start discussing plans for a suitable memorial for Paddy.”

Any surplus money raised will go to the Hospice of St Francis where Paddy spent his last days.