Festival filled with peace and love is a fitting tribute for Willy

PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:10 01 October 2017

The music stage was one of the main attractions. Picture: Luna Louise Photography

The music stage was one of the main attractions. Picture: Luna Louise Photography

Archant

The people of Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton turned out in force to remember much-loved resident Paul 'Willy' Clifford at a well-attended tribute event that was full of memories and emotion.

There was a busy bill of local bands on the main stage. Picture: Luna Louise PhotographyThere was a busy bill of local bands on the main stage. Picture: Luna Louise Photography

Willy, remembered for his catch phrase ‘just be nice’ and his peace-loving attitude, passed away in his sleep last month – prompting his friends to get together to organise the Peace and Love Festival in his memory.

The 61-year-old had suffered with mental health problems throughout his life so donations totalling more than £1,000 from the event at the Gardeners Arms pub in Biggleswade will go to mental health charity Mind.

The festival – organised by his friend and next-door neighbour Bobbi-gee Wood and her fiance Jack Alexander Todd – included a Glastonbury-themed area, a fishing pond, a memory board, ‘Peace and Love’ T-shirts for sale, facepainting, henna tattoos, a food van, bands, fishing games and much more.

Bobbi said afterwards: “We are very humbled by everyone’s help and generosity, and how everyone pulled together to make the Peace and Love Festival possible.

People enjoying the memory wall made up of records. Picture: Luna Louise PhotographyPeople enjoying the memory wall made up of records. Picture: Luna Louise Photography

“We would like to thank everyone who attended, donated, helped with equipment, decorating, the bands/musicians, the stall holders and staff for their hard work and a special thank you to Pictures of Lily, Abbie’s hairdressing salon and the Gardeners Arms for going above and beyond for such a special day.”

Lucy Clifford, Willy’s daughter, added: “It was a great day had by all, I was really pleased with the turnout.

“A big thank you and well done to Bobbi-gee and Jack for working so hard to make this all happen in such little time.

“I think it’s lovely how my dad has brought us all together, what an inspiration.

People enjoying the Peace and Love Festival. Picture: Sally NewhousePeople enjoying the Peace and Love Festival. Picture: Sally Newhouse

“We have all done him proud and he would be made up.”

Willy’s funeral was held in St Andrew’s Church, Biggleswade, on Wednesday, August 30, with pre-service drinks hosted at The Red Lion pub in London Road – where a bench in his memory is set to be installed.

Born in Birmingham on April 16, 1956, Willy’s family moved to Stevenage when he was a child. They later settled in east Bedfordshire, where he remained and became one of Biggleswade’s biggest characters.

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