"Hi, I know a lot of our fans and friends couldn’t be with us at the Palace Hotel Manchester on Saturday 2nd April for various reasons ie: distance and prior commitments being among them.
A lot of people have asked me to keep them informed as to how the evening went so here goes.
The guests were welcomed by the George Galway Trio who also played throughout dinner which I might add was excellent, compliments to the chef.
George Galway, Dave Turner and Vinnie Parker made a very appropriate start to the show as Kevin’s first love was Jazz and no one plays it better than these three guys.
John Stokes then took to the stage to welcome everyone, he was joined by yours truly and together we read out the tributes to Kevin.
John picked one from Geoff Jones our manager in Australia; it was so moving you would have thought he spoke for the whole Continent. I had the honour of reading out a tribute from Joyce and Marty Wilde who toured with Kevin many times in his Karl Denver days.
You can read these tributes here.
Frank Carson and Roy Walker paid tribute to Kevin on the big screen as part of an audio visual reminder of his great career as a musician and entertainer.
The guests applauded as we were taken down Memory Lane with a collage of photographs, TV and stage performances that showed not only his musical ability but also his lovely sense of humour... I would just like to add that all this was made possible because it was put together with loving care by Mark, his son in law and. Greg his grandson.
John and I would also like to thank Kevin’s wife Clare for making available a selection of personal photographs giving us all an insight into what a great life he had.
John then introduced Barbara Tew and Phil Bennet who made short speeches reminding us of what the night was trying to achieve. Barbara who lost two husbands to Motor Neurone made us aware of what an awful disease it is and then Phil encouraging us to raise as much money as we can to try and fight it.
It was now time for a laugh so on came Johnny More, Manchester’s greatest impressionist and one of Kevin’s greatest friends, followed by the ever popular Jimmy Cricket who was there with his lovely wife May. As you can imagine with these two guys on stage it was laughter all the way.” And there’s more.”
Jimmy introduced the Bachelors with John Stokes and I must say we got a great reception. Unfortunately, I had a bad cold and I was struggling to sing but it didn’t seem to matter as the audience sang the songs for me. Even Jimmy Cricket joined us on stage for ‘I Believe’. I found it particularly pleasing how well Dave Pearson’s instrumental ‘Caravan’ was received. Kevin thought Dave would fit in well with the Bachelors he even lent him his guitar, gave him some advice but told him to do it in his own style.
That was Kevin.
By now everyone was in a dancing mood so who better to finish off the night than sixties tribute band ‘Carnaby Street’.
Clive and Steve have been backing the Bachelors for about fifteen years but they really come into their own when they are joined on stage by Mandy and Patricia and belt out those sixties classics. The highlight for me being their lovely harmonics on the Beatles ‘This boy’.
It was now time to wind down and reflect on the evening. In many ways it was quite a family affair. My wife Margaret and our kids, Johns wife, Celine and theirs, all Kevin’s family, Dave’s wife Sue, not to mention some great friends, notably Pete Elliot one of Kevin’s oldest and dearest. Apart from thanking everyone who attended I would also like to thank people like my friend Ged Ford Landlord of the Millstone in Manchester’s Northern Quarter who couldn’t make it yet still donated the price of a ticket to the motor neurone charity and anyone else who would like to donate should send a cheque to David Crowther, 53 Edge Lane, BL3 3HM.
I think Clare summed up the evening best when she said ‘Kevin would have loved this’.
I whole-heartedly agree.
John Stokes and I were in Australia at the time of Kevin’s passing so sadly we missed his funeral. I think staging this tribute to him will give us closure and allow us to move on.
Kevin would want that.