New Orleans jazz funeral held for “unique” Michael

A New Orleans-style jazz funeral was held in a Norfolk village yesterday for a man who friends described as talented, unique, non-conformist, caring and kind.

East Anglia band Smokehouse Blue performed upbeat jazz music as they lead a hearse and friends and family of Michael Broad from the bridge in Lyng, near Dereham, to the village's St Margaret's Church.

The band performed again after the service and it was the request of Mr Broad's widow Shirley for the funeral to be an upbeat celebration of her husband's life.

Mr Broad died at the age of 81 on February 9 after illness.

He had moved to Lyng from the London area in 1976, his wife became the village post mistress and he, at times, delivered post around the village.

He had enjoyed playing music all of his life, from learning to play the banjo at the age of 12 and going on to play bass guitar and Hawaiian guitar.

Mr Broad was well-known as a bell-ringer. He travelled around the country to bell ring and was once chairman of the northern branch of the Norwich Diocesan Association of Bell Ringers.

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He worked on aircraft as a design engineer and was a keen inventor in his spare time.

During the service, the Rev David Head said: 'Shirley told me in no uncertain terms that she wanted this funeral to be a celebration of Michael's life and I think it is absolutely wonderful that this band has been with us.

'Michael was a man of the mind. He was interesting and intelligent and he was an inventor.

'He was advantaged with good schooling and a photographic memory and he used these well and worked his mind well.

'He also had an emotional mind, he was caring and he did not get upset when things he was working on broke.

'Michael liked to live a bit on the edge.

'He was a glider pilot but he never wore a parachute; he liked sailing but never wore a life jacket.'

Gill Page, a fellow bellringer who had known Mr Broad for more than 30 years, said: 'Michael was a very caring and kind man and he was also very talented in his work and his inventing and his music.

'I think, above all, Michael will be remembered as totally unique.'