ROCK and Roll fans from across Europe will pay their last respects to the legendary Consett pianist Freddie Fingers Lee next week.
The funeral of the musician, who died on Monday (January 13) aged 76, will be held on Wednesday (January 22) at 1.15pm in St Mary’s RC Church, Blackhill, Consett.
It will be followed by cremation at Mountsett Crematorium, Dipton, and a wake at The Cricketers pub in Blackhill.
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Tributes from fans across the continent have been posted on his Facebook site.
Lee, who was born Frederick John Cheesman aand styled himself The One-Eyed Boogie Boy, toured extensively in Europe up to his retirement and was popular with a wide mix of fans that included Hell’s Angels.
His sister Angela Walton said she was expecting a big turnout and that fans and friends from Germany, France and Holland were hoping to attend.
She said the service would be a celebration of her brother’s colourful life and that his songs would be played at the church.
“I’m hoping the church will be jumping and the pub will be jumping," she said.
“We are going to play one of his songs, Chains , which is absolutely beautiful, going in.
"Coming out we are going to play another of his songs, One-Eyed Boogie Boy.
“Going in the Crem, we are going to have Til I Waltz Again With You, which I think he wrote for Billy Fury.
“It is nice song. We don’t want anything too sad. We want it a little bit lively. The pub will play his music for the rest of the day.
“Freddie had a lot of friends, even though he lived away for a lot of years. He had a very colourful life.”
Lee was married three times and leaves family including three grown-up children.
Inspired by Jerry Lee Lewis, he was one of the leading British rock’n’rollers in the late 1950s and 1960s and played with stars such as Chuck Berry and Gene Vincent.
He wore an eye patch, having lost an eye when he was one-year-old, and developed a flamboyant stage act that on at least one occasion featured him setting fire to a piano and smashing it up with an axe.
That performance is one of many on You Tube and can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJrKPWjxi2o