Thank You and Farewell Jill Lay

Jill Mary Lay, 1943-2012

“A great sendoff for Jill Lay. Lots of good music, fun and laughter. She would have loved it. A star-studded turn out of musos and punters from all over the country, and rightly so. God bless you, Jill. She’s Rejoicing In Paradise! Peace and solace, Pete.”                                            Trefor Williams

 “It certainly was a wonderful celebration of Jill’s life – just as Pete wanted.”                                                                                Kay and Tony Leppard

Evan Christopher also sent his best wishes to Pete.

Jill’s funeral took place at 12 noon on Tuesday, 15th January, at The Sussex and Surrey Crematorium in Crawley, West Sussex. The hearse was led to the chapel from the crematorium gates by a traditional funeral band of musicians close to Jill and Pete and followed by a brolly procession of devoted jazz colleagues, friends and fans.

Pete’s request for “no black ties or black dresses but a colourful send off for Jill at her own request” was generously honoured. Even the “funeral guys” wore colourful ties. After the funeral there was a memorable celebration of Jill’s life at the Copthorne Social Club.

Jill was dedicated to Pete and the photo of her joining the brolly parade at a recent Hemsby Autumn Festival shows how brave she was even as her illness progressed.

Just before posting this on Jazz&Jazz I received my February issue of Just Jazz which includes a wonderful tribute to Jill’s life by Pete. Not just because they were devoted to each other, but because Jill achieved more than you can imagine, not just for jazz but in nursing, care for the elderly, art and writing – with some of her work published. All this right up to the time when Alzheimer’s stole her life away. If you don’t already receive Just Jazz you must seek out a copy of the February issue, even if you have pay for a subscription, to read Pete’s endearing obituary. Because I’m sure Jill even offered him advice and support in editing the magazine.

The band strikes up to celebrate Jill’s life – just as she wanted.

Donations are in aid of the Surrey Branch of the Alzheimer’s Society who took such good care of Jill. And I simply have to add so did Pete when she needed him the most. For theirs had been a beautiful but powerful partnership and force for jazz in the UK. May the words “Jill and Pete Lay present…” live on!

Peter M Butler

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