Peace and Love in memory of Biggleswade character ‘Willy’

Paul 'Willy' Clifford
Paul 'Willy' Clifford

A much-loved character of the Biggleswade community is being remembered for his kindness at a special fundraising festival for mental health.

Paul Clifford, known to his friends and family as ‘Willy’, is being honoured at the Peace And Love live music and family fun day, being held at the Gardeners Arms, Potton Road, on Sunday, September 17.

Lucy and her dad, Willy.

Lucy and her dad, Willy.

Willy, a former staff member at Rebel Records, Shortmead Street, is remembered for his love of music and generosity. He passed away in his sleep aged 61, on August 1, leaving behind his mother Dawn, brother Phil, and two daughters.

Now friends and family are rallying round to support the special day in his memory, raising money for mental health charity, Mind.

Willy’s daughter Lucy Clifford-Williams, 31, said: “Dad had an unique personality and a great sense 
of humour.

“He always had a good story to tell you and he was an easy going, passionate guy who always knew how to make you smile.

Willy. Lucy remembers: "His hobbies included fishing down Dovecote Lake, Willington. He was always willing to teach kids how to fish."

Willy. Lucy remembers: "His hobbies included fishing down Dovecote Lake, Willington. He was always willing to teach kids how to fish."

“He was kind hearted and charitable, the type to give away his last penny; Dad would always try to help people out if he could, and he did.

“He got well known because he was always out - at gigs, festivals or down the pub – he loved to socialise and was a great conversationalist.

“He just loved people and would talk to anyone.

“Dad was married to my mum in the early 80s for seven years.

Lucy and Willy. Lucy said: "My favourite memories of dad are of him playing the air guitar to David Bowie who was his idol. And just the way he would make me feel great about myself."

Lucy and Willy. Lucy said: "My favourite memories of dad are of him playing the air guitar to David Bowie who was his idol. And just the way he would make me feel great about myself."

“His hobbies included fishing, and he lived for music. He thought Glastonbury was heaven!”

Born in Birmingham in 1956, Willy spent time in Stevenage followed by a long period in Langford, before the family moved to Biggleswade when he was 16.

He held a variety of jobs, his favourite at Rebel Records, and made many friends in the town.

Indeed, the festival and family fun day is the idea of close friend and neighbour, Bobbi-gee Wood.

Willy and Bobbi-gee about to head off to Cambridge Rock Festival.

Willy and Bobbi-gee about to head off to Cambridge Rock Festival.

Bobbi-gee, 29, said: “I just thought it would be a great idea to celebrate such a beautiful man’s life.

“One of his sayings, that all who were lucky enough to meet him would know, was ‘peace and love, man’, thus the name for the festival was born .

“We have lost a much-loved and long-standing character in Biggleswade. Willy will be sorely missed by so many and I just hope I can do him proud.”

Discussing why she chose Mind, Lucy said: “Common mental illness, like depression or anxiety, affects a lot of people.

“Mind will listen, give support and advice, and fight your corner.

“Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem, but hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling.”

Entry is free for The Peace and Love festival but donations for Mind would be greatly appreciated.

There will be entertainment for the whole family, with live music from 11am and “amazing local bands”, most of whom knew Willy and wanted to help out.

The bands playing include: 100ft drop, Indi and the Vegas, Cardinal Kings, 10 Guage, Bubounce Light, Spacegoat, Richie Prynne, Thrash Gordon, Jack Alexander, Boo Sells, and Tony Hill.

There will also be a bouncy castle, food stalls, face painting, glitter tattoos, henna, games, and a tombola, as well as areas that relate to Willy with personalised entertainment to suit his personality.

To top it all off, there will be an “outstanding raffle”, featuring prizes including: hairdressing - Maxwells, Abbie’s Hairdressing Salon, tattoo studios - Pictures of Lily and Kitty Ink; restaurants - Viceroy Indian Restaurant, Nonno Joe’s, Sheffs, and TGF Pizza; fitness and wellbeing - Aiden Jones Weightloss and Fitness, Jeff Beck, Saxon Pool and Gym, and Sapphire Hair and Beauty Academy (massage); fishing with Manor Farm Fishing Ltd.

You can buy your raffle tickets before the event at Pictures of Lily, Abbie’s Hairdressing Salon and the Gardeners Arms, as well as at the event itself.

Lucy and Bobbi-gee would like to thank everyone who has supported the event.

The festival day is from 2pm to 10pm and the raffle will be drawn at 7pm.

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