Band plays at funeral of the ‘fourth Bachelor’ Tony Tolley

Tony Tolley's funeral was held yesterday
Tony Tolley's funeral was held yesterday
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Musician Tony Tolley was given a traditional New Orleans send off yesterday.

The 77-year-old’s cortege was led from the gates at Carleton Crematorium by The Jazz Nights, a band he helped to form in 1980.

Alma Tolley with her husband Tony at a Blackpool Civic Trust dinner in 2013

Alma Tolley with her husband Tony at a Blackpool Civic Trust dinner in 2013

Mr Tolley, who performed with some of the biggest names is music and was known as the ‘fourth Bachelor’, died following a lengthy battle with cancer earlier this month.

Mourners gathered at the crematorium from 1.15pm yesterday to say their final goodbyes to the former drummer.

His widow Alma, 70, of Airdale Avenue, Blackpool, described him as an ‘easy going’ father and grandfather who loved his music.

Mrs Tolley said her husband led an ‘unbelievable’ life, playing with some of the biggest stars, including The Rolling Stones, Cilla Black, and The Beatles at Liverpool’s Cavern Club.

She said: “They were playing one night and Ringo Starr used his drums because he couldn’t be bothered setting his own up.”

Mr Tolley (inset) played with The Bachelors, who had a UK number one hit with Diane in 1964, in the early 60s, she added, while he was also a founding member of the Bill Barrow Quartet.

He had residencies across the resort, including at the Norbreck Castle, Imperial Hotel, and the Hilton.

He continued playing with the Bill Barrow Quartet and The Jazz Nights until ill health forced him to step down.

After being diagnosed with bladder cancer shortly before his 70th birthday, the West Midlands-born musician underwent a triple heart bypass two years ago.

He died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Wednesday, April 4.