FRIENDS, family and fellow musicians turned out to honour and remember Rich McMahon at Birmingham’s Jam House.
Born in Coventry to Irish parents, Rich moved to Ireland at the age of 10 when his parents returned home to Co. Wicklow.
Carving out a career in finance, he then moved back to Birmingham where his musical career also took off.
He later dropped the abacus altogether for the guitar and his trademark harmonica.
A fun-loving, often extrovert performer, it was a shock to many that Rich had battled with depression for most of his adult life and it was this that led him to sadly take his own life in May of this year.
Last month's tribute evening had been originally planned as a fundraiser for Sifa Fireside, a charity that helps vulnerable adults in Birmingham as well as those experiencing homelessness and social exclusion.
But following Rich’s untimely death at the age of 42, it had been thought that the charity evening would not go ahead.
However Cath Gilliver, Sifa Fireside’s chief executive, explained that Rich was a great friend to the charity, giving his time and through his music engaging with those using the centre’s services.
Rich had been working with clients of the centre to develop The Firesiders — Sifa’s very own house band made up of clients, staff and supporting musicians.
And with a lot of practice, a bit of determination and the kind support of Rich’s wife Maggie Mathews, the fundraising evening went ahead.
It became not only a valuable fundraiser for the charity but also a fitting tribute evening to the much-loved musician.
Maggie introduced the acts on then night, adding that the biggest compliment a musician can have is to have someone play their music.
And that they did, with many of songs penned by Rich himself.