THE friends of a Penketh musician killed in a road accident near Mere have described him as ‘the best person to walk through life with’.

Howard New was killed on Thursday, September 3, when his black Fiesta travelling toward Knutsford along the A50 Warrington Road was in collision with a blue Audi A4 Avant heading the other way.

Mr New, a 42-year-old married man with an eight-year-old daughter, died following the collision. The Audi driver suffered minor injuries.

A statement written by his friends read: “Howard was our rock star. He was a performer, music producer and singer-songwriter.

“He played at Jools in the Park in 1995 alongside Jools Holland who said ‘with his voice and my piano we are Ray Charles’.”

His music career started in Warrington in the early 1980s with the group Macabre Day.

He later won the UK’s battle of the bands competition in 1987 and came second to a Japanese band in the worldwide event shortly afterwards.

Mr New was later signed to EMI and releasedthe single Battlefield.

Over the years he worked with many famous stars including Beverley Knight, Louise Redknapp, Rachel Stevens, Robert Plant, Mikey Graham from Boyzone and Gary Barlow from Take That.

Most recently he has written music for Gareth Gates, Lucie Silvas and a song for The X Factor winner Leon Jackson’s album.

His friends added: “He has done so much in his life. He had semi-retired from the music industry and had returned to his original career as an electrical engineer.

”Howard was the nicest person you would ever meet. To be taken away now is so unfair.

“He was the best person to walk through life with. If you needed him he would be there. He would help anybody and was a great teacher and listener.

“Howard was generally a fantastic person and I don’t think you could find anybody who would say a bad word against him.

“His death is the worst thing that has happened to us and he is going to be very sorely missed.

”The brightest stars burn out faster but are the most beautiful.”

Mr New’s funeral took place at St Joseph’s Church on Meeting Lane in Penketh on Monday and was attended by hundreds of mourners including Lucie Silvas who sang the song he co-wrote, Forget Me Not, at the service.

He leaves behind wife Jane, daughter Scarlett, parents Brian and Ellen, his brother, Brian, two sisters Carol and Angela and many friends and family.