Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Tim Hart, of folk group Steeleye Span, dies aged 61

Steeleye Span, 1973
Hart (second left) suggested his band call themselves Steeleye Span

Tim Hart, a founding member of UK folk group Steeleye Span, has died at the age of 61, it has been announced.

Hart, who left the band in 1983, died of lung cancer on Christmas Eve in La Gomera on the Canary Islands.

Steeleye Span was formed in 1969 when Hart and singer Maddy Prior teamed up with bass player Ashley Hutchings, formerly of Fairport Convention.

The band made more than 12 albums and enjoyed hits with such tracks as All Around My Hat and Gaudete.

Born in Lincoln in 1948, Hart grew up in St Albans, Hertfordshire, where his father was a vicar.

'Sad loss'

He met Prior at a St Albans folk club, recording two albums with her before joining forces with Hutchings.

At Hart's suggestion, their new band was named after a character in a Lincolnshire folk song, Horkstow Grange.

Steeleye Span
Hart (second left) took up photography after leaving the group

After leaving the band Hart moved to the Canary Islands and devoted himself to wildlife photography.

Diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago, he spent much of 2009 receiving treatment in the UK.

"It is a sad loss," said John Dagnell of Steeleye Span's record label Park Records.

"It came as a shock to us as we did not realise his illness was so far advanced."

Hart is survived by his wife and daughter, and a son from a previous marriage.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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