It was a life cut tragically short but one that was incredibly full.
Mark Pinchen – respected musician, devoted family man and popular council worker – was remembered yesterday at his funeral as “a lovely man”.
Refuse collector Mark, 48, known as ‘Pin’ and ‘Pino’, collapsed while at work and died two weeks ago.
Holy Trinity Church in West View, Hartlepool, was overflowing for the celebration of his life as hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects.
They included family, friends, members of bands and Hartlepool’s music scene, and Mark’s work colleagues, standing out in their hi-vis yellow jackets.
From the crack of dawn, his workmates had been busy outside the church, trimming hedges and tidying up the street.
Reverend Roz Hall, who led the service, said: “It’s a celebration to someone who was loved by many, and you are all here as tribute to him; for this really special young man that was so charismatic.
“I’ve heard many, many stories and spoken about him to people.
“A remarkable person who made an impact on people when he first met them; a magic smile.
“By what I’ve heard this man was certainly unique, with his music, with his work; with everything.”
Bass player Mark was a member of several bands in the town including Mercedes and was a trustee of The Studio music venue in Hartlepool.
Singer-songwriter Elaine Palmer, who worked alongside Mark for 17 years, performed the moving song Come Tomorrow, which they worked on together.
She remembered how they played festivals and venues big and small up and down the country.
Remembering his ‘massive personality’, Elaine said: “For me Pino was a big inspiration musically, but also personally.
“He was a bit of a mentor to me and over the years he became a real friend.”
She spoke of Mark’s kindness and willingness to help others adding: “I feel really blessed for having known Pino and I think we all feel that, that’s why there’s that many of us here today.
“He was a man who had all of the love that you gave him as well, and that’s a special life.
“I think for Pino we all feel that his legacy will live on.”
Elaine said he was a renowned bass player wherever he went adding: “He was also very humble. I don’t think he knew just how much people loved him and how much people admired and respected him.”
As a young man he toured the world as a guitar technician and roadie and was also a sound engineer.
Mark’s love of music was reflected in the service with Rev Hall reading song lyrics by Nick Drake, and Wild Horses by Flying Burrito Brothers was played.
Some of the floral tributes were even in the shape of bass guitars.
Mark adored his family, including his two children Alfie and Gracie and soulmate Joanne, and loved doing the simple things with them, like going for a bike ride or walking his dogs in the Burn Valley.
When on the bin rounds he would wave to the residents at Priory Court on the Headland and also his niece and great-nieces in town.
A staunch Liverpool football fan and Labour supporter, he was also a talented photographer and was creative repurposing old furniture.
Travel was another of his loves, with photos from his travels included in the order of service.
Among the tears, there were laughs during the service as Rev Hall spoke of Mark giving Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a hug at last year’s Durham Miners Gala, and how his home first aid kit included a can of cider.
“He was a lovely man,” said Rev Hall.
Bin collections were suspended yesterday as a mark of respect and to allow his colleagues and council representatives to attend.
People shared more memories of Mark afterwards at Hartlepool Cricket Club.