Tributes have been paid to cult Manchester star, Ray Boddington who has died aged 77.
Described as a “Tai-Chi dancer and vibemaster”, Boddington was a member of Manchester’s city-centre busker outfit, the ‘Piccadilly Rats’.
Ray was hit by a tram on April 10, shortly after performing at The Millstone, on Thomas Street in Manchester. He did not recover from his injuries and died at Salford Royal Infirmary today (April 18).
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News shortly before Boddington’s death, Piccadilly Rats frontman Gaz Stanley described Ray as the most popular member of the band.
He said: “I am absolutely devastated. Over the years I have got really close to Ray and he has ended up being like a brother to me.
“He is like a member of my family coming round to house for tea with my kids and grandkids. He is really great and well-liked. Even though I do the singing, Ray is the most popular by miles. He takes it so seriously – it is just great.”
Salford-born Boddington was a talented guitar player, pianist, drummer and dancer. The band opened Manchester’s Parklife festival in 2018 and had also appeared at Kendal Calling in 2016.
The retired hairdresser also appeared on a number of television shows including the X Factor and Judge Rinder.
Many tributes have been paid to Boddington on social media; you can read some of them here:
RIP to the legendary Ray Boddington.
We had the pleasure of welcoming the Piccadilly Rats to Kendal Calling 2016 and it was a huge highlight of the weekend.
Our thoughts are with Ray's family and friends, and the rest of the band. https://t.co/qfZAUg29G5
— Kendal Calling 🦌 (@KendalCalling) April 18, 2019
— Salford Electronics (@salfordelectron) April 18, 2019
So sorry. RIP Ray. Xx
— Paul Arthurs. (@BoneheadsPage) April 18, 2019
— David (@dave6018) April 18, 2019
RIP Ray, Manchester loves you https://t.co/P2xlJca7AN
— I Love MCR® (@ILoveMCR) April 18, 2019
My sympathies to the family, friends & fans of Ray Boddington, frontman of the Piccadilly Rats, who has passed away.
I took this shot of them in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester back in 2014. He really knew how to make people look up from their busy lives & pay attention pic.twitter.com/RB2HRkhFES
— Michael Goldrei (@number6ix) April 18, 2019
The death of an icon is always a tragic day. No words can truly desceibe the effect Ray had on us and the whole of Manchester. Rest In Peace. Xx pic.twitter.com/Rq42IyaNsR
— CABBAGE (@ahcabbage) April 18, 2019
Our condolences go out to the family of Manchester legend Ray Boddington of the Piccadilly Rats. Market Street just won't be the same without one of the most familiar faces in Manchester.
Posted by Printworks on Thursday, April 18, 2019
The Managing Director of Metrolink, Aline Frantzen has issued a statement regarding the incident, saying: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Ray’s death and our thoughts are with his loved ones.
“We will do everything possible to support the authorities investigating the collision to ensure the circumstances around it are fully understood. We are also supporting our colleague who was driving the tram as, understandably, the incident has been traumatic for her.”
Transport for Greater Manchester’s Head of Metrolink added:“This is dreadfully sad news and our thoughts are with Mr Boddington’s family and friends at this difficult time.
“As is evident from the many comments that have been made, Ray was a very familiar and popular figure in and around the city centre and beyond, and someone who brought joy to many people. We are working closely with the relevant authorities to investigate exactly what happened and as such we are unable to comment further at this stage.”
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police have renewed an appeal for witnesses as they continue to investigate the incident.