Published: 11:01, 13 March 2019
| Updated: 14:33, 13 March 2019
A Rock and Roll stalwart dubbed an “island of calm in the midst of chaos” by pop legends Queen has died.
Gerry Stickells, aged in his 70s, worked as a production tour manager for the group, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.
Brian May and Roger Taylor led tributes to “the father figure” who died last week follow a long illness.
Stickells, who was one of 10 children, grew up in a council house in Lydd’s Station Road and became a mechanic at what is now Millfield Garage in Harden Road, aged 14.
May said: “So sad that our wonderful tour manager for many years Gerry Stickells passed away this morning. Lost for words. RIP GERRY. Love ya. Thanks for everything.”
Taylor added: “Gerry Stickells, the world's greatest tour manager passed away after a long struggle with illness.
“He was more than a tour manager to Queen - he was a father figure, great friend and teacher and an island of calm in the midst of chaos.
“He had a profound effect on my life, all of it good.
From his early days with Jimi Hendrix through all the years with Queen and Paul McCartney, Gerry was the man!”
Stickells became an influential figure in the modern touring industry.
In the early 1960s he had a call from Noel Redding, who said he was going to play with an American guitarist called Hendrix and needed a roadie.
He told Stickells if he could manage to get all their gear, which was stuck at Heathrow, the job was his.
This was the start of Mr Stickell’s career, which saw him tour the world and stage renowned concerts, including Rock in Rio in 1985.
He worked with Madonna, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Guns and Roses, Prince, David Bowie, Bon Jovi and The Pretenders.
He was awarded a prestigious Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for his work.
Stickells was diagnosed with a brain tumour sixteen years ago following a seizure while touring with Paul McCartney.
He suffered “multiple health issues” linked to the illness according to a GoFundMe page, set up to improve his quality of life.
It adds: “We are reaching out to anyone that knew him, whose lives he touched and to those who have a generous heart.
“We believe in humanity and the good in all of us.
“Gerry Stickells gave his all to everyone and now we want to give back to him.”