Tributes paid after tragic death of Frankie and the Heartstrings drummer Dave Harper

Dozens of people have paid tribute to Frankie and the Heartstrings drummer Dave Harper.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 5:15 pm

The band’s official Twitter feed announced today that the Pop Recs co-founder had passed away in hospital last night.

Dave was a passionate champion of music and culture in Sunderland and a popular figure on the city’s gig circuit.

The outflow of emotion on Twitter was such that Rip Dave was trending nationally this afternoon.

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Among those paying tribute online was Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley, who performs as Lost Voice Guy: “This is such sad news!”, he Tweeted.

"I've still got the signed drumstick he gave me when I fell over (obviously!) at a gig at The Cluny once. Such a lovely bloke. RIP Dave xx”

Sunderland singer Nadine Shah said that she was ‘totally devastated: “Dave was so incredibly funny, always giving me s**t. I loved him. He was an incredible man and did so much for the Sunderland music scene. RIP buddy”, while city band Hivemind Tweeted: “How very sad. Dave was always very approachable and warm whenever we visited Pop Recs next door to our practice space.”

Replying to the Tweet announcing Dave’s death, The Lake Poets’ Marty Longstaff said: “Shocked and saddened by this truly awful news. Sending lots of love to Dave's family, friends, and all of Pop Recs/F&THS”, while Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “I’m so sorry for your loss - such terrible news,” and former SAFC star Marco Gabiadinni added: “I was only in Dave’s company on a few occasions but I knew straight away he was a thoroughly fantastic bloke.”

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Mac Trust founder Paul Callaghan said Dave had been ‘a person who made things happen, who wanted the world to be a better, fairer place & wasn’t afraid to speak his mind’.

And there were tributes from musicians nationwide. Edwyn Collins reTweeted a post from wife Grace Maxwell: “Our son Will, who loved Dave so and was always the butt of his jokes, phoned us now to tell this devastating news. Our three hearts are with Ruth, Sonny, Dave’s family, his Heartstrings brothers and @poprecsltd extended family and our love and tears flow for you all. XXX”

Sunderland-born Lauren Laverne wrote: “Heartbroken to hear this news. Sending all my love and deepest condolences to Dave’s family and friends - I feel very lucky to have known him and the world will be a poorer place without him.”

Dave was a regular and passionate contributor to the Echo’s Facebook page and many people shared their memories on the page.

Dominique Laws said: “Knowing that people like Dave were in the world, even more so my city, was a relief and comfort! Speaking out against casual bigotry is the first defence against allowing the rot of hate to set in”.

Sarah Robson described Dave as ‘an absolute legend’ and said: “I’m sitting in a cafe sobbing in to my cuppa thoughts are with his wife, son, family and friends. Sunderland has lost a good one x”.

Alan Crompton said Dave had done ‘more for the community in Sunderland in his relatively short life than people in positions of authority ever managed’.while Leeann Clarkson added: “Dave was the voice of reason on the comment section of the Echo. An all round good guy.”

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