Tribute to Beer R&B organiser

PUBLISHED: 20:47 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 16:42 14 April 2010

A MUCH loved and respected musician who organised Beer s R&B festival died suddenly last Tuesday (September 23). Jim Riley, a talented bass guitar player, was born in Charing Cross, London. His family ran some of the big London pubs and he was inspired t

A MUCH loved and respected musician who organised Beer's R&B festival died suddenly last Tuesday (September 23).

Jim Riley, a talented bass guitar player, was born in Charing Cross, London.

His family ran some of the big London pubs and he was inspired to take up an instrument after watching famous jazz and blues musicians play.

Jim was in a number of bands over the years and his passion for music saw him travel Europe and America playing with some of the most famous blues and rock men on the circuit.

He met his wife, Sheila, when they both worked at a famous London motorcycle shop, Pride & Clarkes, thirty years ago.

After they married fifteen years later Sheila encouraged Jim to resume his musical career and soon after they decided to organise a rhythm and blues festival in Beer.

Sheila said: "We came to Beer once for a short break and fell in love with the village. "We realised the potential and with the help of Richard Scott and Mike Green, we got the festival underway.

"This will be our eleventh festival and everybody will be celebrating - just as he would have liked."

Burt Stone, a good friend of Jim, said: "I first met him when he played at my café in Beer about twelve years ago and we became great friends.

"Jim was very jolly, a great talker and when in his company he always spoke knowledgably about music.

"He worked really hard to make the festival a success and brought some great bands to the area."

Paul Stiles, a colleague of Jim, paid tribute. He said: "Jim was widely known and liked and was very jovial.

"His whole life revolved around music and bringing on the younger generations. He is going to be missed by a lot of people."

A funeral service took place in Amersham, London on Thursday (October 2). Donations can be sent to the British Heart Foundation in memory of Jim. Family request sending a cheque payable to "British Heart Foundation" to the Funeral Directors, Co-operative Funeral Services,110 Dashwood Avenue, High Wycombe, HP12 3EB.

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