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Obituaries

Mary McPartlan - 1955-2020

Irish folk singer Mary McPartlan passed away in Galway on 6th April at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. In addition to her singing, she was also a TV and theatre producer, a scholar, an arts administrator, a trade union activist, a Galway Simon Community director, and a supporter of many other political causes.

Julie Felix - 1938-2020

Julie Felix, one of the leading lights of the folk scene in the 1960s with an international career that spanned over 50 years, died on the 22 March at the age of 81 after a short illness.

Tom Hickland - 1946-2020

I have been greatly saddened to learn of the death, from Covid-19, of my lifelong friend Tom Hickland. Tom grew up in Hawthorn Street just round the corner from me in west Belfast. We were in the same class at primary school, went to the same secondary school and both went on to Queens University.

Ben Lennon - 1928-2020

Ben Lennon was a master of the North Leitrim style of fiddle playing. A gentleman in every sense, as a teacher he was well known for his generosity and sympathy with younger musicians.

Roger Giles - 1941-2020

Roger Giles, one of the primary custodians of New Zealand’s folk scene, died in Auckland on March 14, aged 78.

Hylda Sims - 1932 - 2020

Sad news has come to town, sad news is carried… An old friend from the early days of skiffle and the folk music revival has died. Hylda Sims, born in 1932, died in the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital on Monday 13 January after fighting a losing battle with cancer.

Sandra Goddard - 23 July 1940 – 10 November 2019

Born Marion Alexandra Wilson in St Albans in 1940, Sandra attended Teachers Training College in Brighton then studied English Literature at University of Hull in 1963. Her interest in folk music began in the late 1950s when she was introduced to the folk scene by Mary McGannon, a fellow teacher who was running a folk club in Luton.

Angie Bladen - 1950-2019

The news of the passing of Angie Bladen on 8 November 2019 was met with a real sense of loss throughout the folk scene in the UK. Through her coordinating roles in various clubs and festivals over many years she touched the lives of countless people, and she will be remembered as a skilled and committed organiser, as well as a good friend and a relentless encourager of people.

Joe Rae - 1937-2019

Joe Rae, who died just six days short of his 82nd birthday on 13th December, possessed an astonishingly wide range of Scotland’s traditional knowledge. He was a quiet, modest man who didn’t often perform in public and so is relatively unknown even within the folk music community. His songs and stories had power and relevance because they came from an unrivalled depth and width of experience and knowledge of Scotland’s history, crafts, traditions, language and culture. His sister always claimed he must have had, “Made in Scotland”, stamped on him somewhere. It is not possible to evaluate the loss of Joe as a tradition bearer without understanding this background.

Arty McGlynn - 1944-2019

Irish guitarist, Arty McGlynn died on 18 December 2019 in hospital in Enniskillen after a long illness. Known the world over as one of the most creative and innovative players of Irish music on the guitar, he is widely credited for bringing the instrument into traditional Irish music’s mainstream.