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Tribute paid to musical director

John Harris
John Harris

The wife of a “talented” musical director who led an orchestra for 62 years has paid tribute to him following his death.

Johnny Harris, who lived in Deeping Gate, died aged 85 at Peterborough City Hospital on November 28.

He led the Johnny Harris Swing Orchestra which performed for many dignitaries such as military top brass, members of the European Commission and Prince Charles.

His loving wife Pamela said: “He was a very talented man, he could turn any piece of music into what he wanted it to be. He was a man full of fun as well - he believed in laughter - everyone knew him for his laughter.”

Johnny toured the country with his orchestra playing at venues such as Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire where he performed in front of members of the European Commission.

Pamela said he could turn his hand to any musical genre whether it was dance or swing.

“He thought all musical was beautiful,” she said.

Johnny produced compositions for many big names such as ballroom dance duo Alan and Hazel Fletcher, who have won many major titles throughout their career, including being five times world and European champions.

Johnny also played in concerts attended by senior army and navy officials.

His last performance was in 2012 at the Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre, which Pamela said was a very memorable concert.

Before his death, of heart failure, Johnny was ill for two years and was cared for by Pamela at home until 10 days before he died when he went into hospital.

She said: “Even when he only had a short time to live but you never heard him complaining.”

Johnny had five children and eight grandchildren.

His funeral takes place on Friday (December 29) at midday at Peterborough Crematorium.


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