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Talented and kindhearted Village Green Band guitarist Rowland ‘Higgi’ Higgins, Long Melford, dies aged 66

PUBLISHED: 15:16 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:53 10 August 2017

Rowland Higgins, known as Higgi, from the Village Green Band. The Long Melford man died at home on August 6, 2017, from a brain tumour. Picture: PROVIDED BY FAMILY

Rowland Higgins, known as Higgi, from the Village Green Band. The Long Melford man died at home on August 6, 2017, from a brain tumour. Picture: PROVIDED BY FAMILY

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Tributes have been paid to the talented Long Melford musician and “kindhearted” gentleman Rowland Higgins, who has died just weeks after a charity concert was held in his honour.

Rowland Higgins (right), playing with Village Green. Picture: HIGGIFEST Rowland Higgins (right), playing with Village Green. Picture: HIGGIFEST

Higgi, as he was known to friends and family, was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago. Despite seeming to be recovering, an unrelated cancer then formed in his brain.

On Sunday, August 6 – at the age of 66 – the singer, guitarist and talented tiler died at home, surrounded by friends and family.

Sue Bray, his partner of 19 years, said: “He was such a special, caring, lovely and kindhearted – very gentle – man. I just don’t quite know how I will live without him.

“Life will never be the same. The last 19 years have been incredible, we just enjoyed each others’ company and looked after each other. He accepted everyone for who they are and we made so many friends together.”

The members of Village Green reunited in 2009. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE The members of Village Green reunited in 2009. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Higgi, who once supported and toured with some of the biggest names in soul music when he played in The Village Green Band, was well known on the music scene.

He was also a talented floor and wall tiler who worked on jobs including complicated mosaics on Lowestoft seafront and large scale fits such as at Stansted airport.

His son Daniel Higgins has followed his father’s line of work – both as a tiler and as a musician. He plays keyboard.

“He was never happier than when he had a guitar in his hand,” said Sue. “If he could do it all again, as good as he was as a tiler, I think he would liked to have made a career out of the music.

Village Green n their heyday toured the country with leading soul stars. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE Village Green n their heyday toured the country with leading soul stars. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

“We found out about the brain tumour while he was playing with a band. He started forgetting and making mistakes.

“It came completely out of the blue, as he was doing really well. He has not been able to pick up a guitar since the beginning of the year, which I think really hurt him.”

Higgi was due to sing with his son at the first HiggiFest concert on July 8, organised by best friend and fellow Village Green Band member Tom White in support of MacMillian Cancer.

Sadly he suffered a stroke days before and was unable to attend. Tom, who has his sights set on a two-day HiggiFest to next year, said it was a “huge loss”.

HiggiFest 2017. Picture: RYAN BOYDELL HiggiFest 2017. Picture: RYAN BOYDELL

“I have known him all my life, it just won’t be the same,” he said.

• Donations in Higgi’s memory can be made to Marie Curie

• The funeral will be on August 21, at noon, at Rickinghall Church

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