A family who pay tribute to David Bowie in a leading cover act have paid respects to the artist in the wake of his death.
Seaham teacher Ed Blaney, 58, appeared as Ziggy-era Bowie when he appeared on ITV’s Stars In Their Eyes in 2005, and now leads Ultimate Bowie as he and wife Christina, 63, tour the country with their band.
It goes without saying we are devastated about this news today.Christina Blaney
The music legend, who turned 69 on Friday and marked the milestone with the release of new album Blackstar, has died after suffering from cancer for the last 18 months.
Christina, who plays keyboards in the group and duets with her husband on Under Pressure, said: “It goes without saying we are devastated about this news today.
“Ed and I both said that David Bowie, or David Jones, had been so private about his illness and coping with it.
“We thought he looked amazing in the publicity shots for Blackstar.
“Ed has been passionate about his music, is genuine to Bowie himself, and while people say others are icons, he really was.
“We’re thinking about his fans, but he had two children and a wife, so our thoughts are with them and his close friends.”
Ultimate Bowie took their latest Ziggy Stardust tour to Seaham Town Hall last month, and will perform at Washington Arts Centre on April 9.
The band’s setlist is made up of singles and album tracks from throughout Bowie’s career, to ensure performances feature the hits, as well as songs devoted fans will enjoy.
“It will give the shows a deeper meaning,” added Christina.
“It will put a different feel on it and it’s going to be emotional for the next few gigs, but we just want to keep his music alive and do it justice and people will appreciate that.
“I remember getting a Ziggy haircut and I copied that from Bowie, and I remember walking back from the hairdresser’s and seeing it in shop windows and thinking ‘yeah, it’s just like his’.”
Ed, who lives with his family in East Shore Village, launched his band after appearing on the TV show, but has been a lifelong fan, performing Space Oddity.
He was working as a teacher at Sunderland’s Sandhill School at the time and now works as a supply music and IT teacher.
The couple’s daughter Penny, 38, takes care of make-up and costumes for the show.
The band will also play a date in Middlesbrough on January 30.