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Saturday 20 January 2018

Top jazz man Billy Hopkins is laid to rest

One of the country's best-known jazz and showband musicians, Billy Hopkins, 62, was laid to rest in Clane Cemetery, Co Kildare, last week after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

He was a member of the Royal Showband, and more recently was with the Cluskey-Hopkins jazz band led by his brother, drummer Des Hopkins. There was a huge turnout at the funeral, including many musicians from at home and abroad.

Among them were Enrico Tomasso of the Acker Bilk band and Paul Hart, who played piano with the Johnny Dankworth orchestra.

Billy was a superb bass player, a fine vocalist, and an accomplished keyboard instrumentalist. He is survived by his wife, Anne, and his daughters Shirley and Susie, and his son Michael, who will be performing with the rock band Planet Parade in Whelan's tomorrow night.

"Billy's death from motor neurone disease makes it our mission to increase awareness and knowledge of this illness," said Des Hopkins yesterday.

Sunday Independent

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