The family of an Accrington musician who was renowned for his love of classic cars have paid tribute to his ‘remarkable’ life.

George Heron died at the age of 91 last week and his family say they have been inundated with messages from across the country.

Mr Heron was born in Dartford, Kent and lived through the Nazi bombing of UK towns and cities as a child.

He would later move to Preston in 1975 for a time and then to Haslingden, Oswaldtwistle and Accrington. And as well as being popular on the music venue circuit in the 1960s his love for vintage American cars won him many admirers.

His son, also named George, said: “Dad was doing the rounds in the late 1950s and 60s with every band you can imagine. He toured and supported others. He told us over the years how Rolling Stones borrowed their equipment and he was on the same bill as The Beatles in their early days. 

“He worked at Pontins, a disc Jockey, bass player, lead guitarist, singer. In later years he's mainly played keyboard which he had many years of enjoyment from.”

Lancashire Telegraph: George Heron would play in numerous bands and spent time serving in the army too.

He would play in numerous bands, the Bolts, the Invaders and The Four Fours and would regularly come into contact with some of the icons of British rock.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph he once said: “I thought my only real talent was music. I once appeared on the same bill as The Beatles in the early 1960s. They were in big letters at the top and I was in small letters at the bottom.”

But it was his love of cars that propelled him to ‘local legend’ status. He would run his customised car business from Queen’s Road West, with some of the cars being sold to other companies who would use them to promote their own businesses.

Mr Heron was the founder of the American and Custom Vehicle Club and among others had owned a unique Galaxie 500 ‘Star Wars’ car.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mr Heron was the founder of the American and Custom Vehicle Club and his creations were celebrated by car enthusiasts

It took him 400 hours to hand paint the car and he had used parts of an old washing machine to make the radar equipment for the roof.

He would go on to produce a number of exclusive designs and murals on some of the most famous vehicle makes around at the time. He exploits even saw him feature on CNN.

Lancashire Telegraph:

In 1997 he shared a tribute for Princess Diana after he painted a canvas of her just weeks before her tragic death.

Speaking to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph at the time he said: “I have always been a fan of Diana. Just before her death she had looked happy for the first time so I decided to paint her.

“I painted the photograph of Dodi from a separate and also included a painting of them walking together through the gates of paradise, after Mohammed Al Fayed said that is where they would be.”

Lancashire Telegraph: George Heron was regularly featured in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph

In 1998 he was back on the front pages having been inspired by Star Trek, Deep Impact and Stargate to paint a F-Reg Montego. In 2001, over a two-month period, he carefully re-painted a Peugeot 309 with a stunning lunar landscape.

His son George added: “Over the years he has owned hundreds of cars, and between early 70s to late 80s he loved to customise all his cars painting exquisite murals across all body panels or cars.”

Lancashire Telegraph: George Heron pictured in 1932 and with his parents Patrick and Mini

In his seventies, Mr Heron graduated with a degree in 3D and design at UCLan.

Son George said: “We would like to thank everyone for their very kind words and support in this sad time. One of our dads wishes which we are most certainly going to fulfil was to ask all those who would like to attend the Funeral to not where anything black.

“He told us: More colourful the better. As his life was so colourful. He didn't want to go out all dark and black when his personality was so colourful.”

  • The funeral service for Mr George Heron will take place at 10.40am Thursday 23 November at St John Church at 10.45​. For any tributes please contact Champ Funeral Services​ on 01254 390731.