Folk community bids a sad farewell to the late Maggie Boyle
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Folk community bids a sad farewell to the late Maggie Boyle

The family of the late singer Maggie Boyle have expressed their gratitude to the folk community and those further afield who supported her over the past year.

Maggie sadly lost her life to cancer last week, passing away on November 6 aged 57.

The gifted performer developed an instant passion for folk and traditional music growing up around south and west London’s Irish community in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The Boyles hailed from Gweebarra in Donegal and their Battersea household was awash with creativity.

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Maggie’s father was a fiddle player, her mother a dancer.

Their daughter’s possession of a fine, ethereal voice was soon identified.

Maggie went on to win All-Britain singing titles at the historic West London branch of Comhaltas in Fulham.

As a teenager, she performed with her brothers Kevin and Paul in The Boyle Family.

Through the 1980s, she formed a duo with her then husband Steve Tilson and went on to record several highly-acclaimed albums and, later, three further solo records.

As well as her captivating voice, Maggie was a skilled flautist.

Her musicianship helping her collaborate with the likes of The Chieftains, Fairport Convention and Bert Jansch.

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Maggie regularly performed in such line-ups, including as a duo with the all-female trio Grace Notes.

Most recently she teamed up with the guitarist Paul Downes to play flute, whistle and bodhrán on the album The Boatman’s Cure.

Throughout her long musical career, Maggie remained committed to developing the traditional form and vigorously supported young singers.

She organised concerts and regularly taught at Brenton Hall and Newcastle University.

Maggie played an active role in artist-led cooperatives which, helping to unearth new talent including The Demon Barbers and The Witches of Elswick.

From 2012, she pioneered a scheme which saw her meet her musical heroes.

The Kitchen Songs, on BBC Radio Leeds, included luminaries such as Ralph McTell.

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Her family recall that as well as her ability to enchant a room with her voice, she was the possessor of a pure soul who brought joy and piece to others.

Maggie is survived by her partner Bill Dinsdale, two children Molly and Joe, brothers Kevin and Christopher and granddaughter Betty Sue.

This Monday, November 17, a Memorial Service is being held at noon at Victoria Hall in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

A celebration of Maggie’s life will follow at 2pm to which everyone is welcome.

Guests are being asked to bring their memories of Maggie – along with their instruments.