VIDEO: Mike & The Mechanics pay tribute to Pontefract character

POP supergroup Mike & the Mechanics sent a heartfelt message to the family of a well-known Pontefract man who lost his battle to lung cancer.

Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:59 pm

Colourful character Russ Tate , who ran a limousine company in the town for over 30 years, passed away in April in Pinderfields at the age of 67.

Due to lockdown restrictions, his family were unable to visit during his final days, but held online video calls, playing his favourite songs.

A huge music fan, he called rock ‘n’ roll founding father, Little Richard, a personal friend, and was a superfan of Mike & The Mechanics.

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Russ (right) with Little Richard.

His family were pleasantly surprised when a video message arrived from the band’s founder, Mike Rutherford and singer Tim Howar, paying tribute to Russ.

Tim even sings the band’s 1986 hit, All I Need is a Miracle, on the short video, and the band members raise a toast to Russ.

His daughter, Kerry Tate-Maskill, said: “He was a huge fan, music was his life. To get the video was amazing.

“My dad would have been in awe of it and so proud that the band have taken time out to do this. He would have just been ecstatic.

“When we received it, it made so many of cry, happy tears and sad tears at the same time.

“I firmly believe that he’s up in heaven smiling and singing along and saying a big thank you to the band.

“I can’t thank them enough, it’s given dad’s family and friends something to cherish.”

With his parents owning a taxi company in Pontefract in the 1960s, Russ took a more glitzy approach to travel, setting up Allstar Limousines in 1987, importing his fleet of custom-built super-stretched vehicles from Los Angeles.

As a result, he rubbed shoulders with some world-famous people, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lewis and of course, Little Richard, whom Russ chauffeured during his European tours.

Kerry said: “Little Richard would get the entire concert venue to sing Happy Birthday for dad, the man from Pontefract.

“Such acts made such a lasting impression on dad.

“Little Richard once even got my sister and I up on stage to ‘jive’, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing!

“Dad would go out on holiday to America and visit Little Richard out there.”