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Friday, January 08, 2010

Ernie Graham R.I.P.

Yesterday I received a call from his wife Ann to say that Ernie Graham had passed away.
A very sad start to the new year.
Ernie has been an absolute rock at Blaydon since the early days. He looked after the raffle, would gently coax support for our activities and was someone I could rely on for good common sense advice. Even just a few weeks back, I was on the phone to see how he was and asking him for his thoughts on what best to do in the new season.
He loved to be involved and particularly enjoyed exchanging banter with the musicians which would put a smile on everyone's face and help get things going.
Clubs need people like Ernie in order to survive and flourish. He had a quick wit and an impish humour - a great and totally unique character.
I can just picture him now getting up to sing a number (which he only did once a year on his birthday) and looking across from my guitar seat at that firmly tapping left foot which went alternatively from side to side, then glancing up at that huge grin and getting a cheeky wink as he romped through 'Route 66' or 'A Gal in Calico' or maybe 'How About You?'. Ernie used to often tell me 'there has always been jazz in Blaydon - keep it going Roly' - he went to Blaydon jazz sessions at The Railway Inn back in the 50s/60s.
Ernie himself was a fine keyboard player with a great knowledge of the songbook. I know I speak for everyone at Blaydon plus many local musicians who knew him in saying how very much we will miss him and in passing our heartfelt condolences to Ann and their family.
He was 80.
Roly.

2 comments :

Lance said...

My sentiments entirely Roly. Ernie and the very few like him are the heartbeat of any organisation. I knew him long before I became a regular at Blaydon although he would always try and persuade me to go.
When I finally did make it, even though it was sometime after I'd last seen him, he took it as a personal triumph and almost shook my arm from its socket with his greeting.
He will certainly be missed all who knew him.

Miles said...

Ever so sad to hear about Ernie, as a fellow villager (Dinnington) I used to see Ernie at the paper shop in the mornings and we could spend a good half hour talking jazz.I knew all about Blaydon jazz before Bebop Spoken Here.
He had problems of late with his eyes and the last time I saw him sciatica but he was always upbeat. A great guy and our thoughts are with Anne and the family.

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