Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

ELO founder killed by bale of hay

Police said ELO founding member Mike Edwards died after a bale of hay hit his van
Police said ELO founding member Mike Edwards died after a bale of hay hit his van

A founding member of rock group Electric Light Orchestra was killed when a giant bale of hay tumbled down a hill and crashed onto his van.

Cellist Mike Edwards died after the 94 stone bale careered down the side of a steep Devonshire field before it smashed through a hedge and onto the road.

The 62-year-old died instantly in the accident on Friday afternoon.

Police are now investigating whether the bale may have fallen from a tractor working on farmland next to the A381 in Halwell, near Totnes. They believe the musician was killed after the loose bale gathered momentum as it rolled down the hill before landing on the front cab of his white van.

He is understood to have swerved into a similar vehicle as he was struck, at around 12.30pm. The second driver was unhurt in the collision.

A tribute to Edwards was posted on the Face The Music website, described as an "official information service for ELO and related artists".

It said the cellist, who played in ELO's first live concert and was with ELO until 1975, attracted fans with a unique solo turn - playing his instrument with a grapefruit.

The tribute said: "He played in ELO's first ever live concert (Croydon, 16 April 1972) and over the next three years toured with them as the band strove to develop and establish their distinctive sound. Mike quickly became a crowd favourite with his exploding cello and rather unique solo party piece that involved playing the cello with a grapefruit!

"His accomplished playing featured on the ELO 2, On The Third Day, The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach) and Eldorado albums. He will be sadly missed by all."

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