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The local music scene suffered a tragic loss last week when Paul “Lolly” Lawton died in a tragic accident in Richmond on the afternoon of July 15. He was 41 years old.

Tim Readman, a friend of Lawton's, played with the percussionist in Shona Le Mott‚e's band. "I have known him for years," says Readman. "I first met Paul when he was the drummer in the Paperboys and I was running a band called Fear of Drinking. I was also in a band called Mad Pudding. The Paperboys, as well Spirit of the West, and all of those bands have sort of blended together over the years, we've all played in each other's bands." One of Lawton's most recent gigs was touring with the Irish Rovers.

Born in Warrington in the northwest of England, Lawton moved with his family to Windsor, Ontario while in his teens, and made the pilgrimage to Vancouver in his 20s. His parents had recently moved back to England from Vancouver Island.

The musician stuanchly staunch supported the Everton football team, rivals to the other, more famous Liverpool team. "Ironically, they've finished above Liverpool this season for the first time in years," says Readman. "It was a great season for them. He was particularly happy about that."

In an email sent out by Readman, the musician described his friend as a man of "deeply held beliefs and principles."

"I think spiritual is what I mean," says Readman. "He was a very private person in that area. He never talked about it or tried to convert anybody, he quietly went to church every week, he didn't make a big fuss about it. It was just part of his life. Those of us who knew him respected that. It was part of his character."

Lawton's death has been felt throughout the Vancouver music scene. "It's unbelievable," says Readman. "It's like all of those clich‚s you think of at times like this. When someone's ailing you have time to prepare for it. But, you know, I saw more of Paul in the last month or so than I would normally because we were working together on a couple of music projects.

"The last time I saw him was when we drove back from a gig in Mission and he sang along with the music in the car all the way home," said Readman. "You don't know that's the last time you'll see him, so you don't have any time to prepare. It just affects so many people, everybody liked him, he was such a great guy and such a great musician. Anybody who worked with him has been touched by him and on top of that, he had loads and loads of friends, and his family. So it [Lawton's death] touches a lot of people."

Many of his friends, supporters and family came out for a wake held for Lawton at the Wolf and Hound Pub last Wednesday. Lawton's old band the Paperboys played, as did Readman, Big Head Project, Brickhouse and Lawton's samba band.

"It was phenomenal," says George Bathgate, a sales representative for the Courier and a friend of Lawton's who attended the wake.

"I think the most touching part of the evening for me was when we were all singing 'One Lolly Lawton, there's only one Lolly Lawton' [sung to the tune of "Guantanamera"] like a football chant. There was a throng of people punching the air. It was like a moshpit of loyal friends just grooving."