Video: New Orleans-style jazz funeral for much-loved Belton musician

PUBLISHED: 09:41 20 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:41 20 February 2015

A New Orleans style jazz funeral in Gorleston for former taxi driver and musician Pete Roberts.

A New Orleans style jazz funeral in Gorleston for former taxi driver and musician Pete Roberts.


Sunshine and the joyful sounds of jazz filled a busy shopping street for the funeral of a much-loved musician.

Pete Roberts, who has died, was a regular at the local pubs and clubs around Great Yarmouth. 

Picture: James Bass Pete Roberts, who has died, was a regular at the local pubs and clubs around Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Traders and shoppers paused where they stood as the hearse carrying Pete Robert’s body drove slowly along Gorleston High Street.

The cortege was followed by a convoy of taxis, stopping at the rank to pick up a New Orleans style band Tuba Swingy who lead the way along Baker’s Street to the Conservative Club.

Some mourners walked alongside to pay their respects. Laid on top of the coffin was a floral arrangement in the shape of a guitar.

Pete Roberts rubbed shoulders with all the pop greats of the 1960s working as a session musician under legendary producer Joe Meek, and carving his own successful career.

His talents saw him perform with all the big bands of the day, his uncredited contribution on hit recordings by the likes of the Honeycombs obvious to those in the know.

He was also a retired publican and taxi driver.

Mr Roberts, who lived in Belton, died of pancreatic cancer aged 66.

His widow Pat Roberts, 73, said: “He wanted to go out happy and I thought ‘this is the last thing I can do for him.’”

She said she hoped it would be a memorable day and also a fitting farewell to a man who had bought so much pleasure to others through his music.

In his heyday he played in his own right as “Little Joe” with Love Children.

He enjoyed chart success with Easy Squeezy - a tune that had earlier flopped, but he had made his own.

His records still sell abroad and the vinyl singles are traded among collectors online.

Mrs Roberts said she had been overwhelmed by the cards and tributes from people saddened by his death, many re-telling anecdotes that highlighted his generous spirit and personable nature.

Always well turned-out with a touch of “finesse” Mr Roberts never lost his love of music entertaining customers at both the Sun Inn in Bradwell and the Queens Head in Thurlton which the couple ran together at different times.

He was laid to rest on Wednesday in a fine Italian suit and shoes, a bottle of cologne tucked in his sock. The couple married in 1979 and have one son Darren.

Having entertained others for years and played at all sorts of events including weddings, Mr Roberts’ “last show” was at his service when recordings of his own songs were played.

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