Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Milton Keynes memorial for jazz star Johnny Dankworth


Memorial for Sir John Dankworth

A memorial service for the jazz star Sir John Dankworth is being held at the Buckinghamshire theatre which he founded with his wife Dame Cleo Laine.

Sir John, known as Johnny, died at the age of 82 in February after being ill for many months.

Dame Cleo announced his death at the 40th anniversary concert of The Stables, the venue they set up in their garden in Wavendon, Milton Keynes.

The memorial was held at The Stables following his funeral.

Monica Ferguson, chief executive of The Stables, said Dame Cleo told mourners at the crematorium that her husband would have approved of the occasion.

"She said, 'You know, John would have loved this'," said Ms Ferguson.

'Great party'

"He would have loved being here with all his friends who span generations of people he has worked with over the years.

"It's a great party, in a sense."

Dame Cleo, who was applauded for taking part in a concert just hours after her husband died, smiled as she arrived at the theatre.

She was accompanied by son Alec, daughter Jacqui and granddaughter Emily Dankworth.

Speaking earlier about her late husband, she said: "We were joined at the hip for a very long time. I will miss him."

Sir John's children performed at the celebratory performance this afternoon, which began with the playing of World Jazz Suite, composed by the musician himself.

Tributes were paid in the form of poems and music.

Guests at the event included poet Pam Ayres, actress Maureen Lipman, guitarist Bert Weedon, Bill Oddie, Clare Rayner and Bob Holness.

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