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'These are the hardest days, but he's strong': Son of Piccadilly Rats star Ray Boddington's heartbreaking message as 'incredible' dad clings on

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 15/04/2019 Alexandra Rucki
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The son of Piccadilly Rats star Ray Boddington has spoken of his heartbreak as his 'strong, powerful and incredible' dad clings on to life in hospital.

Ray's life-support machine was turned off on Sunday, but he is continuing to breathe without assistance.

The dancer was seriously injured after being hit by a tram near the Arndale at around 7pm on Wednesday. 

Ray, 78, has been at Salford Royal Hospital ever since, with his loved ones at his bedside.

The family has been told by medics the grandfather is unlikely to survive.

a close up of a sign: Pray for Ray signs have appeared in Manchester Piccadilly. © @GPiccadillyRats Pray for Ray signs have appeared in Manchester Piccadilly.

Ray's son Daniel has described his dad as 'the heart of Manchester'.

He said messages from the legendary busker's fans are helping to keep them going.

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Daniel wrote on Facebook: "These are the hardest days I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

"But, from my heart, I can say I am the proudest son to watch how strong, powerful and incredible my dad is.

"Please keep the prays and thoughts; they keeping him alive and I thank everyone all over the country and Manchester."

a person wearing a hat: Ray Boddington © MEN Media Ray Boddington

Daniel added: "I know my dad loves you all. Whether you hated him or loved him, he always loves you all.

"And he loves being Ray the dancer and he loves being a dad, a friend, a grandpa. And he loves life and he is the heart of Manchester."

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Posters reading 'Pray for Ray' have appeared across Manchester city centre.

One poster, depicting Ray in his trademark jacket and sunglasses, appeared on hoardings at the junction of Lever Street and Piccadilly.

a close up of text on a white background: Pray for Ray signs have appeared in Manchester Piccadilly. © @GPiccadillyRats Pray for Ray signs have appeared in Manchester Piccadilly.

Messages of support for Ray and the Piccadilly Rats have poured in since the Manchester Evening News broke the tragic news.

Ste Ridyard wrote on Facebook: "Always thought they were really good these guys, certainly true Mancs."

Ian Fisher said: "Get well soon you legend of Manchester always made me for one happy when I seen you guys trying to make the city a happier place."

The incident has been referred to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch. An investigation, involving Greater Manchester Police, is underway.

a group of people posing for the camera: The Piccadilly Rats are seen entertaining shoppers on Market Street © MEN Media The Piccadilly Rats are seen entertaining shoppers on Market Street

The tram driver provided negative samples for alcohol and drugs. There have been no arrests.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.

Musician Ray, a retired hairdresser, has previously appeared on the X Factor, and also turned up on daytime courtroom series Judge Rinder.

a man standing in front of a brick wall: Ray Boddington © Sean Hansford Ray Boddington

The Piccadilly Rats lineup includes founders Gaz Stanley and Ray Boddington, plus an array of friends they've met along the way - including Tommy Trouble, drummer Alan Jones, and teenage bassist Robert Branch.

The band have played at festivals, including Kendal Calling and Parklife.

Anyone with information is asked to call GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741. Reports can also be made via Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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