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Vancouver’s Celtic-music scene has lost a fine player. Drummer and percussionist Paul “Lolly” Lawton died in a tragic accident in Richmond on the afternoon of July 15. The 41-year-old musician was born in England but moved to Canada with his family as a teenager. Lawton was a founding member of the Paperboys and more recently toured with the Irish Rovers.

“It’s just absolutely tragic, and devastating to all of us who loved him,” said Paperboys singer-guitarist Tom Landa, reached at home on July 19. “Lolly really was a beautiful human being, and by far the most spiritual person that any of us knew. He was a great friend to all of us, and a fantastic musician.”

In addition to being an exceptionally sensitive drummer, Lawton was also an accomplished songwriter. “Not many people knew that, but we in the Paperboys played at least three of his songs and recorded one of them,” Landa said. “When people go through his personal stuff, I hope they’ll find some tapes that we can eventually put on to some sort of recording.”

Patrick Ruel, a friend of Lawton’s for 15 years, described the drummer as someone who lived for, and was obsessed by, music. “He was always broke, but that’s because he was always buying CDs like they were going out of style,” he said. “His tastes were everywhere—he was obsessive about music.”

He added that Lawton also devoted large amounts of his time to charities such as Meals on Wheels. “He was the kind of guy who adopted a foster child in Africa when he was 12, and then always kept in contact with him,” Ruel said.

Lawton’s funeral was held at St. Augustine’s Church on July 20 and was followed that same evening by a wake at the Wolf and Hound.