Hartlepool says goodbye to country music legend Johnny Larkin

Funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.
Funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.

Dozens of people turned out say goodbye to Hartlepool’s country music legend Johnny Larkin.

Friends and family attended his funeral held at St Joseph’s RC Church in the town.

Johnny Larkin

Johnny Larkin

The popular entertainer, who was well known for singing country music for over 60 years, passed away on April 28, aged 91 after a series of health problems.

The service, led Father Michael Griffiths, saw the congregation sing ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’ as they gathered to remember Johnny.

Addressing those gathered, Father Griffiths said Johnny was born on Wood Street in Hartlepool and attended Sacred Heart School before going on to become a mechanic, a job he loved.

He also paid tribute to Johnny’s late wife Doris, to whom he had been married for 52 years.

Funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.

Funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.

He said: “He began his singing career in 1948, using the gift of his voice and became popular.

“He was well known around Hartlepool for that talent and for everything he did to support country music.”

The dad-of-three and grandfather of 11 raised thousands of pounds for numerous charities over the years through his love of music including the Parkinson’s Disease Association, Help for Heroes and the RNLI.

In 2014 Johnny became the oldest person ever to be inducted into the British Country Music Hall of Fame at 87.

Funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.

Funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.

It was in recognition of his dedication and lifetime achievement to promoting country music.

Johnny started his career by singing Vera Lynn songs in Hartlepool’s pubs and clubs for fun.

He was soon approached to sing professionally. Johnny’s love of country music began after hearing Hank Williams and he remained a fan for the rest of his life.

Father Griffiths described Johnny as a ‘kind, generous and fun loving’ man.

Floral tributes at the funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.

Floral tributes at the funeral of Hartlepool entertainer Johnny Larkin at St Jospeh's RC Church, St Paul's Road.

“He raised in that career thousands of pounds for charity and managed to go to Nashville - the spiritual home for country music,” he said.

“He was always known as someone involved in music.

“Johhny’s family would like to thank everybody for their kindness and sympathy at this time.”

On leaving the congregation donated to the RNLI.