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A Fond Farewell

Updated: May 16

At newspapers the announcements of births, wedding and funerals are amusingly known as 'hatches, matches and dispatches'. Today, the first Friday in May, I found myself in Leeds for one of the latter, at a very large hotel and venue to the north of the city, as an extended family said farewell to a clearly much-loved Mum. Audrey was an Eastender, a proper Cockney, who it seemed loved nothing better than a good old-fashioned knees-up - and, not surprisingly, her large family wanted to honour her memory after the earlier funeral by raising a glass or two to her memory, as well as joining in with a bit of a singalong. Leading that was me!

I arrived, together with Dave, my sound man, in good time to set up fully, carry out a sound check, and then disappear off to get changed. The hotel staff were very friendly and all was going well until I realised I'd lost my pearl earrings. Lost where exactly, I wasn't sure. But lost they were, and lost they remain. So annoying.

The afternoon went well. I'd decide to say, over the microphone, that "although today was a sad day, it didn't have to be a sombre occasion...", which I felt was an appropriate way to signal what was a very lively afternoon, with plenty of laughter and more than a few tears. As people ate, I did some Manhattan Moods style background singing. The family had asked for some Vera Lynn, so I began my second set with White Cliffs of Dover, as a prelude to 1940s music, including the requested singalongs, before figuratively switching hats and taking on my other persona as Vintage Singer, which gave me licence to switch to the 1950s and 1960s, before ending, as requested, with We'll Meet Again. It was a great afternoon and, most importantly, I was confident I'd delivered exactly what the family wanted.

Some time after, I received this testimonial from one of the family, by way of a Google review. It read:

"Had Lancashire Belle for my mother’s funeral. She was absolutely fabulous. Booking and communication was easy. Jane even learnt a new song that was requested prior to the funeral. Nothing was too much trouble. Booked Jane for an hour but she did well over what was agreed. Couldn’t have asked for more. Guests all commented on what a lovely send off we gave my mum and this was all down to Jane. Very client focused and professional. Would highly recommend this entertainer for any event."

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