Shirley, who was born in 1948, started Edwin Shirley Trucking (EST) with his friend and one-time National Youth Theatre colleague Roy Lamb in 1974, a truly pioneering company as it was the first trucking operation in Europe specialising in rock tours.
Starting with just a second-hand bread van, EST grew into an essential logistical part of some of the biggest tours around and by the early Eighties had spawned a second company, Edwin Shirley Staging. This was originally set up as a partnership between the trucking company and a contact of Lamb's in the States for many years, Mike Brown. It soon expanded into an operation working on tours for acts including Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Queen and The Rolling Stones.
One of Edwin Shirley Staging's biggest moments was building the stage for the historic Live Ais concert at London's Wembley Stadium in 1985, while it also buillt the stage for the handover event for Honk Kong and the David Beckham Football Academy at the O2.
Other projects Shirley became involved with included Three Mile Island Studios, which he oversaw in the early Nineties as a place for technical rehearsals for the outdoor stage for a Paul McCartney tour. This was sited at the old Bass Charington bonded warehouses, distillery and bottling plant site at Three Mills, Bow in the East End.
Friends and family say there are plans to hold a memorial for Shirley who is survived by his wife Diane, daughter Rebecca and son Raphael and Marg Pascoe with whom he had been with since the early Nineties.
by Paul Willams