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'Incredibly popular and loved' Harrogate character, Rudy, dies

Rudy busking outside M&S in Harrogate town centre in 2012 (Credit: Hattie Rymer)
Rudy busking outside M&S in Harrogate town centre in 2012 (Credit: Hattie Rymer)

Tributes to 'Rudy', one of Harrogate's most well-known characters, have flooded across social media after the news spread that he has died.

For years, Rudy has been known by Harrogate residents for his live renditions of Bob Marley classics and 'staring at the sun' in the town centre.

But residents, charity workers, and councillors are among all those that have shared their fond memories of Rudy, after it was posted on Facebook that he died on Sunday, June 18.

Service Manager at Mind Harrogate, Val Longley, said: "We have known Rudy for a long time and he will be sorely missed. He used to come and have his breakfast with us occasionally."

Rudy had been supported by the services at Windsor House in Harrogate, and others in the town have praised the help they had given him.

Val said: "What a fantastic service they gave to support him. I think the workers are very distressed by the fact that he has died, they were very close to him."

North Yorkshire County Councillor, and Harrogate resident, Geoff Webber, added: "There is a national lack of funding in mental health services but I think the individual workers couldn't have done more for him."

Geoff, who used to run the music shop, Pomp and Circumstance, on Commercial Street, said he also remembers the days when Rudy would play music from a speaker in the town centre.

He said: "It's very sad news. He spent a lot of time staring at the sun and singing and shouting, he could be a nuisance when he was shouting but it takes all sorts.

"He used to come with a huge Ghetto Blaster, so big it was barely portable, with awful music coming out and not very conducive to my trade.

"I used to have to go out and ask him if he would mind moving up the street a bit, but he took it very well and he wasn't aggressive. It was matter of live and let live, I think."

Trevor Hardisty, who spread the news on Facebook that Rudy had died, said he believes that he lost his battle with cancer.

Trevor told the 'Advertiser: "He was incredibly popular and loved by many in the town. I have no idea what arrangements are for his funeral.

"In life he was an enigma and even his passing has provoked a great reaction."

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