“The Show is Over” – Farewell to Vince Hill

A celebration of music legend Vince Hill’s life took place at Henley Town Hall today (Monday) who passed away on 22 July 2023 aged 89.

Funeral Celebrant and close friend of the family Clare Grove opened the service by telling the congregation that his passing that day would have been his dear wife’s Annie’s birthday who passed away in 2016.  Vince and Annie moved to Shiplake in 1981.

Edelweiss the song Vince was best known for was the entry music.  Before singing this song each time he would say, “This is the song that just about changed everything.”  Clare commented afterwards, “How could there be any other to start?”

In the opening address Clare said, “We’re here to celebrate Vince’s long and good life.  A life well lived.  A life full of life.  He has left a legacy so rich that it can be enjoyed forever.  His music has touched all of our lives.”

Personal family tributes followed with the first from his sister Val read by Clare which told the story of Vince first singing on a Margate holiday in a pub and someone afterwards saying that he should have voice training lessons.  Other family tributes were from his Niece, Mandy who Vince named an album after.  She said, “I was only five years old and young at the time but I now know what it truly meant and I truly cherish this. Grandchildren Poppy and Felix remembered Granddad pulling faces and doing silly dances.  They said his food was always delicious particularly his lamb kebabs and they have fond memories of going out on his boat.   Close family friend and housekeeper Pauline Buckett said, “This will get them talking, I will most our morning bedroom chats.”

A tribute in Music followed with personal photographs from the family album were shown on the big screen accompanied by Look Around (from Love Story).

Mark Andrews, Vince’s Producer then led a tribute to Vince’s amazing career from applying to advert for a singer in The Melody Maker for the Royal Corps of Signals through his music, TV and acting career. He said, “It is a great honour to be here today.  Vince had an extraordinary career.  He had a great sense of fun and cheekiness.  I loved lots of his stories including his friendship with Princess Margaret and his impressions, particularly his Ken Dodd one.”

Mark then introduced Anita Harris actress and singer who sang a cappella the first few lines of Smile by Nat King Cole.  Afterwards she told the audience that she was delighted to have sung this song with Vince at his 80th birthday concert at the Kenton.  She said, “Vince’s singing voice touched all our hearts.  He had great empathy with every artist that he worked with.  He had goodness of heart and warmth of mind.”

Going Nowhere was then accompanied by further photographs of Vince’s great life.

Video tributes from colleagues and friends were then showed which included Sir Tim Rice, producer David Mackay, Tony Christie, comedian Jimmy the Cricket, the Nolan Sisters and Les Dennis who told a story about when appearing with Vince in Blackpool and the theatre catching fire. Vince was the hero of the hour. He went back, raised the alarm, rang the police and the emergency services from the stage door telephone and the next day I said to him Vince that was really brave, and he said to me I only went back for my stage suits!”  Other well-known faces paying their respects today were Carol Decker, Debbie McGee and DJ Mike Read.

West End star and good friend, Mike Sterling then read a poem that he wrote just last week which include Vince’s love of cooking.

Members of the Grand Order of Water Rats lodge then stood up and sang a valediction which encompassed “brotherly love” which drew a huge applause from the audience afterwards.

The service ended with the perfect song The Show is Over sung by Vince (originally released by Evelyn “Champagne” King).

You can read more about Vince’s life in our obituary at https://www.henleyherald.com/2023/08/01/obituary-vince-hill/




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