A Wearside man has been remembered as a fantastic dad and a wonderful musician.
Sunderland woman Joanna Parry, 76, has looked back on the life of her father Joe Wright – the man she still misses dearly.
Joe was a milkman (and later a dairy manager) through the day and a band leader at night. When time allowed, he played waltzes for his family and then did the same when he headed out to packed ballrooms across Wearside to front Joe Wright And His Band.
He once rescued a piano from a bombed Italian village in the Second World War and played it on the back of a wagon as he and his Royal Engineers regiment rolled through.
It’s a magical memory of a man who played venues including the Bay Hotel. And as rock and roll and pop music changed the scene, he changed tack himself to pack out the workingmen’s clubs of Sunderland.
Mother-of-two Joanna, who has played music since she was three, said: “We had a piano in the house and for him, it was waltzes and dance music. It was Sinatra and all these wonderful singers.
He took me once to a rehearsal when I was about 11 and people would ask me ‘do you want to have a band like your dad?’ But all I wanted to do was dance around the hallJoanna Parry
“He took me once to a rehearsal when I was about 11 and people would ask me ‘do you want to have a band like your dad?’ But all I wanted to do was dance around the hall to his music.”
Joe, from Royal Street in Grangetown, had his own band from his late teens to the late 1950s.
His future wife Edith lived in nearby Balmoral Terrace. They courted and enjoyed a wonderful marriage which gave them two children – Joanna and her sister Anne.
Joe kept up his music and remained as organist until he was 92 at St Leonard’s Church in Silksworth.
He died aged 95 in 2009, five years after his beloved Edith passed away aged 87. But for Joanna, the memories of a musical family will last forever.