Funeral details announced for Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin

Johnny Larkin
Johnny Larkin

Funeral details for the late Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin have been announced.

Johnny, who entertained countless people singing country music for over 60 years, died last month aged 91 after a series of health problems.

A large turnout is expected for his funeral which will take place at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, in St Paul’s Road, Hartlepool, on Tuesday, May 16.

The service will start at 1.30pm prior to being taken to Stranton Crematorium for 2.30pm.

Only family flowers are requested but anyone who wishes to is asked to make a donation to the RNLI, one of many charities that Johnny supported during his lifetime.

Close friend Sylvia Bowron said: “I would expect there is going to be a lot of people there including a lot of bands and people that Johnny booked over the years.

“I have been inundated with phone calls and emails from people.”

Johnny, a dad-of-three and grandfather of 11, was described as kind, generous and humble.

He began his career as an entertainer by singing Vera Lynn songs in Hartlepool’s pubs and clubs for fun in 1948.

He was soon approached to sing professionally.

Johnny fell in love with country music after hearing Hank Williams for the first time and he remained a fan for the rest of his life.

He recorded several albums and released EPs over the years and continued to perform occasionally and enjoy live music at local venues right up to his late 80s.

Johnny was 87 when he was inducted into the British Country Music Hall of Fame.

He was given the honour in recognition of his lifetime’s achievements in the country music industry and joined 30 other people to have been awarded the prestigious place.

Johnny formed the successful JL Entertainments agency in the mid-1950s and booked many of the country’s top country music acts.

Away from performing, he worked as a diesel mechanic for Hartlepool’s Bee Line bus company.

Johnny used his love of music to help raise thousands of pounds for causes close to his heart.

They included the Parkinson’s Disease Association, Help for Heroes, RNLI and cleft lip charity Smile Train.

In 2012, he and good friend Stan Laundon, with whom he recorded a musical DVD, raised £1,000 for Hartlepool RNLI after a charity concert in town.