Houghton Weavers lead singer Tony Berry dies

Houghton Weavers lead singer Tony Berry has died
Houghton Weavers lead singer Tony Berry has died

Lead singer Tony Berry of much loved north west folk band Houghton Weavers has died aged 69.

Tony, one part of the quartet, first formed in 1975, passed away on Thursday evening following his battle with pancreatic cancer.

His band mates David Littler, Steve Millington and Jim Berry made the announcement with a special tribute on their website.

The message read: "It is with a very deep sadness that The Houghton Weavers must announce the passing of our much loved lead singer, Tony Berry.

Tony passed away peacefully on Thursday evening, 13th June,at home with his family, following a prolonged illness.

Tony was a wonderfully talented, thoughtful and kind person who touched the lives and hearts of so many over a lifetime of dedication to show business.

Houghton Weavers

Houghton Weavers

Tony will be very sadly missed but will remain eternally in our hearts and thoughts.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Tony's family at this difficult time.

God Bless Tony."

Fans of the group have been sharing messages of condolence on the dedicated Houghton Weavers fan page on Facebook.

Elaine Lynch, who shared the message, posted "The folk world has lost it's brightest star."

Berry, from Westhoughton was a former teacher who worked in a school for the deaf, before changing path and working as a social worker and later with adults with learning difficulties.

He was already a familiar face on the music circuit, first as a solo singer in the social club before founding the folk group with David, David’s brother Dennis, John Oliver and Norman Prince.

They found fame after taking part in BBC talent show, "We'll Call You", not long after given their own show "Sit Thi Deawn" which ran for six series.

An album deal with EMI found the Weavers recording at the famous Abbey Road Studios and they have recorded more than 20 albums. There were later changes to the line-up but their songs have garnered fans from across the world

Their record "The Blackpool Belle" was a number one hit in Tasmania and a number three hit in New Zealand.

Tony leaves a wife, Andrea, three children, Amy, Tom and Jack and a grand-daughter, Thea.