More Than 200 At Funeral Of Jon Brookes
The musician, from Burntwood, died on August 13, aged 44, after battling a brain tumour.
His packed funeral was held at the town’s 180-seat Christ Church, Burntwood, at a poignant service, with some of the mourners standing outside under the shelter of a white marquee. His wife Debbie was at the head of the procession flanked by close family and members of the band.
Guests included Mr Brookes’s friend and West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson. The musician was a Baggies fan.
A speaker system was erected outside for those who could not get into the church to hear the service led by family friend and vicar the Rev Margaret Mattocks, who described Mr Brookes as a ‘legend’ and ‘a beautiful man’. She said: “There were no half measures with Jon. One of the proudest moments was when I realised he and Deb saw me not as a vicar, but as a friend.
“However, he would not have forgiven me if I didn’t say how much he loved and appreciated Deb. Our lives have been touched by the legend that is Jon Brookes, a beautiful man.”
In tributes at the service, Charlatans lead singer Tim Burgess told of their friendship over the decades. And he spoke of how in the early days of the band they spent many hours at Mr Brookes’s family home making plans and listening to music by other bands, such as Led Zeppelin.
He said Mr Brookes was ‘full of vigour and loved life’ and this quality remained ‘as they ‘travelled the world’ performing.
“Jon had an amazing love for drums and music in general,” he said.
“He lived for the moment and enjoyed our success and the success of friends and their bands. In the early days we spent our days at his home, we were fed by his mom and would then go out for a drink with his dad Bob. For me this is a chance to celebrate what Jon brought to our lives. He was a fantastic dad, great brother, a beautiful friend – I just wanted a chance to say thanks.”
The drummer’s brother Nick recalled stories of them growing up at the family’s home in Wednesbury. Mr Brookes was carried in a flight case-theme coffin featuring images of the band’s albums ‘Between the 10th and the 11th’ and ‘Some Friendly’, along with ‘Fragile handle with care’ labels stuck on the sides.
Flight cases are used by touring bands to transport instruments and sound gear. There was also a huge white floral tribute simply saying ‘Daddy’ from his children Lola Primrose, 12, Ruby Rose, nine, and Coco Dahlia, four.
Wife Deborah gave a red tribute with the letters ‘JB’. The funeral procession entered the church to the song ‘Life’s What You Make It’ by the band Talk Talk.
The service included prayers and the traditional hymn Morning Has Broken chosen by Mrs Brookes because the drummer had enjoyed singing it at school.
The Bible reading was Psalm 139, and chosen for the funeral by Mr Brookes before he passed away. There was also instrumental music titled ‘Lark Ascending’ by Caroline Li. The coffin was carried from the picturesque red brick church, in Church Road, to rousing applause and the sound of the late Beatle George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’.
Mr Brookes died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham with his family at his bedside on August 13. He was a founding member of the iconic Britpop band, which formed in Walsall in 1989.
The group shot to fame with hits such as ‘The Only One I Know’ and went on to achieve three UK number one albums and four top 10 hits.