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Tuesday 24 September 2019

'A gentleman to his fingertips' - friends and family pay tribute to beloved star Sonny Knowles at funeral mass

Fr Brian D'Arcy officiated at the funeral mass which was attended by President Michael D Higgins

The funeral of Sonny Knowles at St. Agne’s Church, Crumlin .
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
The funeral of Sonny Knowles at St. Agne’s Church, Crumlin . PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Singer Sonny Knowles was a "gentleman to his fingertips," his funeral mass heard today.

Fr Brian D'Arcy, who knew the showbiz legend for nearly 50 years, officiated at the funeral mass at St Agnes Church in Crumlin village, which was attended by President Michael D Higgins.

"Every time we met, or went to see Sonny, you came away feeling great. He had that wonderful ability to make us all feel great," said Fr D'Arcy.

At the beginning of the mass, the Mr Knowles daughter brought up a number of symbols to represent the singer, which were placed on a small table beside his coffin.

VERY SPECIAL MAN: TV and radio star Sonny Knowles
VERY SPECIAL MAN: TV and radio star Sonny Knowles

These included a pair of patent shoes, which Fr D'Arcy said, he referred to as "shiny shoes," as he pointed out that the singer was always well turned out.

A platinum disc was also bought to the altar in recognition of the record sales made by the Dubliner who was born in the Liberties.

President Michael D Higgins pictured after the funeral of Sonny Knowles at St. Agne’s Church, Crumlin .
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
President Michael D Higgins pictured after the funeral of Sonny Knowles at St. Agne’s Church, Crumlin . PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

RTE radio presenter Ronan Collins, said that Sonny was a man "much loved," and it was a "life well lived."

He spoke about his great pride in his three children Geraldine, Gary and Aisling, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren, and said himself and his wife of 62 years Sheila, were "an extraordinary couple."

Joe Duffy and Sil Fox pictured after the funeral of Sonny Knowles PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Joe Duffy and Sil Fox pictured after the funeral of Sonny Knowles PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

"The audience loved him," he said, listing the venues all around the country where the singer played down through the years.

"He pleased the audience so much, he was asked back again and again," said Mr Collins.

"Nobody was a stranger to Sonny," he said, adding that the legend had loved musicians.

"At the age of 16, he started his association with music and that proved to be his life's work," he said.  Sonny had worked as a solo artist, but also with sit down bands, show bands and in cabaret in the course of a long career.

Mr Collins said that Mr Knowles was a man who was "happy in himself," with a wonderful family and partner.

Mr Knowles' son Gary spoke about how he would miss his father, saying that  Sonny wasn't just his Dad, he was his pal.

It was a music-filled ceremony, with Red Hurley singing a number of songs, including Nearer My God to Thee.  Liveline host Joe Duffy, who was a long term friend of Mr Knowles was also in the congregation.

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