There were tears and laughter in equal measure as hundreds of mourners paid their last respects at the funeral of popular entertainer John Coolie yesterday.
It was standing room only at St Mary’s, Lowe House RC Church as family and friends poured into the North Road church wearing yellow flowers in honour of his courageous battle with leukaemia.
John, 52, whose real surname was Turner, passed away on Sunday, January 26, following an inspirational battle with the disease - which he fought with a smile on his face right to the end.
The father-of-three and grandfather-of-one started out in the entertainment business as a keyboard player before switching to lead vocals.
He then set up his own comedy act, Cool Runnings, inspired by the Jamaican bobsleigh team before forming No Idea with his wife Sue - and even appeared on Lee Mack’s All Star Cast TV show.
At his funeral service John’s unique brand of “all inclusive” humour was referred to - because “everyone was fair game”!
Fittingly, mourners first sang a version of Oh When The Saints.
An extract of a poem for John Coolie, read by Sheila Diamond, read: “You suffered much in silence, Your laughter did not bend, You faced your pain with courage, And joked right to the end.”
The ceremony also featured a video tribute from his wife Sue and all the family - who also wished to say a big “thank you” to all the staff on Ward 2A at Whiston Hospital for looking after John during his illness.
Sue said: “John was upset at not being able to perform after his diagnosis but kept everyone laughing with regular Facebook messages. He even played pranks on the nurses.
“He never let the illness drag him down and was such an amazing man. Quite simply, John was put on this earth to make people laugh.”