Hundreds gather for musical funeral parade to say goodbye to Scarborough musician Roy Piper

Hundreds gathered to say goodbye to Scarborough musician Roy Piper, who died on December 21 2019, with a New Orleans style funeral parade.

By Corinne Macdonald
Friday, 10th January 2020, 4:53 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 5:07 pm

At his funeral on Wednesday January 8 approximately 300 people arrived from across the country and as far afield as France to pay their respects to a man who meant so much.

The musicians amongst them, of which there were many, marched up to Woodlands Crematorium playing When the Saints Go Marching In.

His partner of 25 years and fellow musician Anna Shannon, said: "Music was his life, and I wanted it to be a big part of our goodbye to him."

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The funeral parade. Still from video by Chris Curtis/ Blue Sky Media

The crowds of people at the service were testament to how well-loved and respected he was.

Born in Scarborough in 1944 as a young lad Roy worked with his father collecting milk churns for the co op dairy.

He was also a bicycle delivery boy and farm labourer.

At school he was a good student, part of the school choir and won several awards for his nature projects, inspiring a lifelong love of the outdoors.

Roy Piper. Picture from Anna Shannon

It was also at school that Roy got his first guitar which he bought from a fellow pupil aged 12 after hearing a skiffle band playing.

A bass player, music became Roy's great love and he spent his life playing every style from jazz to Irish to New Orleans rhythm and blues.

The first band he played in was Jonty and the Strangers aged 14, and was also well known for playing in Hamps Tramps and Johnny Jump-Up, a band which Anna was also in.

Roy was a huge part of the music community in Scarborough and beyond, though off stage he played a quieter part.

Roy Piper, second from right, in Hamps Tramps. Picture from Anna Shannon

Anna said: "Everyone would describe him as quiet, with a dry sense of humour.

"He was a man of few words but what he did say was was often very profound.

"He was very loved by everyone who knew him."

Anna and Roy met through music and she remembers thinking he was very cool, and noticing his long hair at that first gig.

Roy Piper playing in Johnny Jump-Up. Picture: JPI Media

Together they played music all over the country, from Edinburgh to London, and from 2006 on wards played Anna's music across Britain and Holland at folk and maritime festivals.

Outside of music, Roy loved the outdoors and was always mending and building things, planting trees and liked growing veg.

Anna said his ideal way to spend a summers evening would be stood by a bonfire with friends and music.

After a two year battle with cancer during which Anna said he 'never complained', Roy died at home just before Christmas last year.

At both the service and at the wake at the Hayburn Wyke afterwards, over £600 was raised for Saint Catherine's who provided Anna with 'amazing' support during the latter part of Roy's life.

He leaves behind sons Andy and Simon with whom he shared a great relationship, grandchildren Edie and Elliott, his brother and sister-in-law John and Angela, and many friends.

Roy Piper in Jonty and the Strangers. Picture from Anna Shannon

He will be dearly missed.

The video of the funeral parade was made by Chris Curtis of Blue Sky Media.