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Norwich pays tribute popular busker Jonny Walker

PUBLISHED: 08:14 08 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:19 09 April 2018

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick Butcher

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Fans gathered on a busy city street to pay tribute to a popular street musician as part of a nationwide rendition of a Beatles classic.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

Let It Be was performed today by a group of musicians on Norwich’s Haymarket in memory of Liverpool-born busker Jonny Walker, who died in March aged 37.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mr Walker lived in Beeston, part of Leeds, when he died and had two young children.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

The popular song was preceded by a minute’s silence to the man, who loved performing in Norwich.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

Norwich was one of seven towns and cities around Britain which put on the Let It Be and minute’s silence at the same time for Mr Walker.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

The other locations where tributes were held, which Mr Walker described as his “open churches”, were Leeds, Hebden Bridge, Harrogate, York, Liverpool and Leeds.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

His brother, Michael Walker, 33, also from Beeston in West Yorkshire, said: “Jonny was a dynamic and passionate person who tirelessly campaigned for what he believed in. He was a loving father and kind brother.”

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

He described the response to the musical tribute as “overwhelming”.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

“It was wonderful to see what he meant to people across the country.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

“It helps us as a family to look to the future and see an opportunity to celebrate his life,” Mr Walker added.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

In 2012 the musician, who worked with Billy Bragg, Mark Thomas and Bill Bailey, set up campaign group Keep Streets Live to relax busking laws.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

He was also a passionate campaigner for tackling homelessness.

People gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker.
Picture: Nick ButcherPeople gather to listen to music in memory of Norwich busker Jonny Walker. Picture: Nick Butcher

Since Mr Walker’s death, just over £11,000 has been donated to an online gofundme page.

Jonny Walker died March 14 2018. Picture courtesy of Mr Walker's family.Jonny Walker died March 14 2018. Picture courtesy of Mr Walker's family.

His brother said the family was keen to put that money into causes the musician was passionate about.

The nationwide event was organised by friend of Mr Walker, Fiona Pattison, from Hebden Bridge.

She said: “Jonny had a lot of friends in Norwich.”

The Haymarket tribute raised £550 and was organised by Kevin Mottershaw.

Professional musician, Nigel Ashcroft, from Thorpe Hamlet, who took part in the Norwich performance, said: “Jonny always had a smile on his face. It is good to pay respect to someone who did a lot for street entertainment.”

Other musicians who took part were Felix Simpson, Lydia Lee, Terry Adams, Barny Holmes, Grant Ley, and Louise Foran.

Mr Adams said: “If Jonny’s legacy was to create a community spirit amongst fellow buskers it was realised today.”

Mr Walker’s funeral will be at Leeds Minster on April 20 at 2.30pm.

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