Liversedge pub musicians stage tribute to guitarist Andy Banks

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Performer Andy Banks Performer Andy Banks

Pub musicians are to pay tribute to a guitarist who died in a tragic accident after a New Year’s Day gig.

Father-of two Andy Banks had been walking home after playing at The Swan in Liversedge when it is believed he became trapped in a drain trying to retrieve his dropped car keys.

An inquest has been opened in Bradford into the 49-year-old’s death, which left family and friends stunned.

Mr Banks, who lived in Dewsbury, was a regular performer at The Swan’s Acoustic Daze sessions on the first Sunday of every month.

Session organiser John Hetherington said Mr Banks was an “honest and genuine guy” who was a passionate performer and supporter of music.

“He’d come on New Year’s afternoon to play and then stayed on for a couple of pints. He’d left his car at a friends so we think he’d decided to walk home when it happened. We were horrified when the landlady told us. We were in the pub when she got the call. It’s unthinkable.

“He’d had a great time that day. Unusually for him he’d been rehearsing a particular piece for some weeks before. He was experimental. He used echoes and reverb to build a wall of sound. I thought it was fantastic.

“He’d been coming to the sessions for about a year and it was here that he did his first solo performance because he played with other bands.”

Mr Hetherington said the next Acoustic Daze session on February 3 would be in his memory.

“I think he’d appreciate that,” he added.

Police were called to King Street in Heckmondwike at 12.16am on January 2 after neighbours reported a man in difficulty.

It is understood Mr Banks’s keys dropped down the drain and in a bid to retrieve them he lifted the grate and put his head and arm into the hole, with a depth of about 4ft.

It is then believed he lost his balance, but was unable to push himself out and his upper body became trapped in the drain. He was found by police and Cleckheaton firefighters were called in try to rescue him using a winch.

Counselling has been offered to the firefighters who were involved and chiefs at Cleckheaton fire station later issued a warning to anyone faced with the same predicament to call the Council, but to never try to retrieve them by leaning into a drain.

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