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Foy Vance's emotional gig tribute to Bangor hairdresser David Aumonier

By Ivan Little

Fast-rising singer Foy Vance has dedicated a song at a sold-out concert in Belfast to a hairdresser from his hometown of Bangor who lost his battle against cancer earlier this year.

Foy used to work as a junior in the Bangor salon of David Aumonier, who died in May.

And at his Ulster Hall concert, Foy said he was playing his song Bangor Town for "his old boss".

David's wife Lawrain, who is also an award-winning hairdresser in Bangor, said she was deeply touched by the singer's gesture.

And she revealed that a recording of Bangor Town had been played as she and her two children, Paris and Davis, scattered David's ashes on a beach between Ballyholme and Groomsport.

"David had actually picked the spot, but we never imagined that we would be taking him there so soon," said Lawrain, who went on to social media to thank Foy.

She also told him that her late husband "was so proud of you".

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "Foy was a junior with us in our Bingham Street salon in Bangor for roughly a year, but he said he wanted to leave to concentrate on his music.

"I can't say how good a hairdresser he would have become, but David and I were really chuffed that he has done so well as a singer and a songwriter.

"We have followed his career very closely and it gave us great pleasure to watch him grow as a musician and as a singer and songwriter.

"David was a big backer of local musicians and he always said that Foy would make it to the big time and now people in the music industry are predicting great things for him too.

"It has also been gratifying to see that Foy is still clearly proud of his Bangor roots.

"He has repeatedly sung the praises of fellow musicians from the town like Snow Patrol and Two Door Cinema Club.

"And Bangor Town is a stunningly beautiful song. It was very moving for us all to listen to it, as our family and David's friends said goodbye to him on that little quiet little beach near Groomsport." Lawrain posted a video on Facebook of Foy singing Bangor Town and hundreds of her friends have liked it, commented on it and shared it.

A number of people posted messages online to express their appreciation of the singer's tribute to David at the Ulster Hall and one man who was at the concert said it was "an emotional moment". Fifty eight-year-old David was a fervent supporter of Bangor Football Club, Manchester City and Northern Ireland.

In 1982 and 1986 he cut the hair of the international squad, who were training at Clandeboye Road football ground in Bangor for the World Cup Finals in Spain and then Mexico.

One of the first people to express his sympathies after David's death was former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star Norman Whiteside, who remembered how "he cut the mullets in the 80s".

Hundreds of people packed Bangor First Presbyterian Church for David's funeral and former BBC radio presenter George Jones, a Man United fan, included Man City anthems like Blue Moon and Van Morrison songs in his repertoire at the service.

David had bought his tickets for the European championships in France during the summer, but died before he could realise his dream of watching his heroes in action.

David was born in Gloucester but moved to Ballyholme at the age of four.

His nicknames ranged from Mr Football to Mr Bangor, and he won a raft of awards, locally and nationally, for his hair-styling.

His son Davis scattered some of his ashes on the seat where he would have sat alongside him at the Nice stadium as Northern Ireland beat Ukraine 2-0.

Foy Vance will return to the Ulster Hall for another sell-out gig on Saturday night, when David's daughter Paris is expected to be in the audience along with family friends.

Last week, Foy was the support act for Elton John in his Wonderful Crazy world tour concert in the SSE Arena in Belfast.

Foy is a friend of English singing sensation Ed Sheeran and last year signed with his Gingerbread Man record company.

The two singers have appeared on stage with each other here and in America and they've also written together for their individual records.

Sheeran said when he first encountered Foy Vance nine years ago he misheard the Irish accents of his road crew and thought they were saying his name was "Five Ants".

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