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From Gary Brooker's funeral, 23 March 2022

Tribute for Uncle Gary from his nephews and nieces

The funeral of Gary Brooker MBE was a private affair, taking place at Guildford Crematorium on 23 March 2022 at 12.45 pm. In addition
to his fellow musicians and Procol entourage, many friends and colleagues from different spheres of Gary's life paid tribute.
Here is the eulogy delivered on behalf of his nephews and nieces.


Gary was known by many people for his music, but to us he was Uncle Gary, an eccentric and exciting man who led us on adventures. We – Jo, Bradley, Ellis and Nadine – were lucky enough to spend wonderful times with Gary and Franky in the school holidays at Wintershall throughout our childhood.

We have wonderful memories of madcap days out, quiet fishing and exploring the countryside, accompanied by the gentle smell of pipe-smoke. Gary taught us about a whole new world. Whether we were making boats and racing them on streams, learning how to fish (this was a particular passion shared by Ellis and Gary), or being taken to pheasant shoots or even an evening of banger racing, it was always a new and thrilling experience.

Jo remembers Gary’s workshop being a magical place full of exciting possibilities, a place where you could make anything. Gary taught her how to tie a fly which they turned into a brooch; it became one of Jo’s treasured objects. Bradley and Ellis will never forget the adventures driving the tractor.

On the rare occasions that Franky hadn’t prepared some sort of feast, Gary would retrieve something from the fridge, and always convince us that he was eating something strange like a hedgehog, or that brown sauce was made of earwigs. 

The boys’ tenth birthday was a particular treat, a secret destination! We were asked to wake up very early, and leave at dawn. As we wound through the little lanes from Dunsfold, Gary put on a special compilation that he had made for the journey. The stereo sprang to life with the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. An hour into the journey we reached the sea, and on came The Theme to ‘Jaws’. The level of excitement in the car was fever pitch as we pulled into the port to catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight. We had never been anywhere like that and, as far as we were concerned, we were going abroad! It is one of the nicest memories that we collectively have from our childhood.

As we got older, we saw Uncle Gary play many times, Bradley particularly. Gary was a wonderful musician and Bradley remembers watching Gary when he performed a Ray Charles cover, and the absolute joy that he derived from it. 

Last summer Gary and Franky came to visit the family in Southend. Bradley hosted a fantastic BBQ. It was a wonderful day and Gary was on fine form, despite still receiving treatment. Gary showed his true versatility by belting out Souvenir of London on the banjo in Bradley’s bar at the bottom of the garden, then moments later playing ‘The Piano Concerto’ on his dad’s piano. Watching him we knew we were in the company of greatness.

 We love you, Uncle Gary. 

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