So long Larry - a Norwich legend.
PUBLISHED: 15:54 09 May 2012
He entertained the people of Norwich and Norfolk for decades and he inspired a generation of skiffle kids. We will never forget Larry Pye.
One of the most popular and best loved entertainers in Norwich, and one of the first local singers to appear on Anglia Television, Clarence (Larry) Pye, has died at the age of 77.
He was a man with a twinkle in his eye and a song in his heart – and he inspired a generation of Norfolk skiffle kids.
A devoted family man, Larry also worked as a volunteer at Caroline House in Norwich where he helped so many other people trying to rebuild their lives.
Singers come and go, but Larry was part of the city entertainment scene for decades – and when he walked on a stage or picked up a microphone he brought sunshine into so many people’s lives.
“He was a very special man,” said Terry Wickham, organiser of the Golden Years, a celebration of the Norfolk music scene. “Everybody loved Larry.
“So many people of a certain age will remember listening to him singing at The Fellmongers on Oak Street in Norwich on a Saturday night. The place would be packed. Mule Train and Rawhide were among his favourites,” he said.
“Larry was one of the originals,” said Terry. “A legend.”
Norwich born and bred Larry grew up on Elizabeth Fry Close. “I used to get up on the table with my harmonica when I was about eight or nine. I just loved it,” he told me.
He served with the Army in Egypt where he continued to entertain in concert parties and was advised to change his name from Clarence to Larry. “They said it was more showbizzy.”
On his return to Norwich, he started singing on his own and with groups. He was named Singer of the Year for 1958, won various other competitions, and joined The Jailbirds, one of the first skiffle groups who so nearly hit the big time.
In 1959, he was thought to be the first Norwich singer to appear on the new Anglia Television when he sang on The Midday Show.
“I got paid £10. I remember walking down Prince of Wales Road and feeling like a millionaire,” he said.
“Not many saw me because they didn’t have a television,”
A semi-professional entertainer all his life, he first worked in the shoe trade at Clarke’s factory and then as a lorry driver.
He leaves a wife Marion, daughter Karen and son-in-law Brian.
Larry’s funeral will be at Earlham Crematorium on Friday, May 11 at 4.30pm.
If you have any memories of Larry, drop me a line at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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