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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 12:43 GMT
Songwriter Clifford T Ward dies
Clifford T Ward
Mr Ward's songs were recorded by Ringo Starr
Popular 1970s singer-songwriter Clifford T Ward has died after a long illness, it was announced on Wednesday.

The 57-year-old musician from Worcestershire had suffered from multiple sclerosis for 20 years and died from pneumonia on Tuesday morning.

Mr Ward was best known for his Seventies hit Gaye and his songs had been recorded by stars such as Ringo Starr and Art Garfunkel.

Fans regarded him as one of the greatest writers in Britain.

'Great legacy'

Stephen Bagustm, secretary of his fan club, said: "He was undoubtedly the most underrated singer and songwriter of our time.

"Clifford T leaves a great legacy of music that will last for as long as good songs are enjoyed by an appreciative audience."

Mr Ward, who lived near Kidderminster, only had two chart singles - the biggest hit Gaye reached number eight in the charts.

But he retained a devoted following for his albums.

Home recording

He originally trained as a teacher and while working at Bromsgrove High School he began recording as a solo artist for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel's Dandelion label.

He gave up teaching to concentrate on writing and recording at home but his failure to tour meant he did not capitalise on the success of his records.

Mr Ward, who leaves a widow Pat, two sons, two daughters and three grandchildren, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984.

He recorded his fourth and final album Julia And Other New Stories ten years later and was reputed to have crawled on all fours into his home studio to finish it.

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