Gallery: Hundreds of mourners attend funeral for popular “PJ”

THE funeral of a 42-year-old man killed in an industrial accident has taken place in west Suffolk.

HUNDREDS of people whose lives had been touched by one of the victims of the Great Yarmouth industrial tragedy attended his funeral today.

Peter Johnson, known as PJ, from Stanton, lost his life alongside his workmates Thomas, 26, and Daniel Hazelton, 30, and Adam Taylor, 28, at Claxton Engineering Services Ltd in Great Yarmouth last month.

So many mourners had turned out to say their farewells to the 42-year-old that many had to stand in All Saints’ Church, Stanton, while others stood outside on the cold and wet day.

Among those in attendance was ska band Skasouls, of whom PJ had been a huge fan and friend, and fellow scooter lovers from the Backstabbers scooter club.

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Music had its part to play in the funeral, with Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door playing at the beginning and uplifting music by Madness and Bad Manners at the end.

In a heart-rending tribute, his daughter Bethany Cotton said her father was “irreplaceable”.

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She said PJ would not have the chance to walk her down the aisle or share in her experiences.

But she said he would be with her “every step of the way”.

“I hope I can touch, change and inspire as many people as he did,” she added.

His brother Paul described PJ as a family man, who lived his life to the full.

He said PJ’s daughter and mother Barbara May had meant the most to him.

He said: “A genuine larger-than-life loveable character who once met would never be easily forgotten.”

Friends of PJ’s from Backstabbers followed the hearse to the crematorium on their scooters.

At The Cock Inn after the service, friends remembered the loveable character.

Band members of Skasouls recollected the first time they met PJ in about 2006 at the Blue Boar pub in Walsham-le-Willows. They described PJ as the unofficial sixth bandmate.

He had been learning the saxophone and would sometimes join the band on stage.

“He wouldn’t claim to be a brilliant musician, but his enthusiasm was just infectious,” said lead singer Dave Ryder.

Friend Trevor Brame, who is helping to organise a fundraising tribute night in memory of PJ, said: “He wouldn’t want people to mope about.

“He would want people to have smiles on their faces.”

The funeral of brothers Tom and Daniel Hazelton, from Stanton, took place last week and the funeral of Adam, from Rickinghall, is due to take place tomorrow. An investigation into the accident is ongoing.

n The Four Friends Memorial Fund has raised more than �4,000 for a permanent memorial to the four men.

To support the fund, which was launched by the East Anglian Daily Times in liaison with the men’s families, please send cheques payable to Archant Regional Ltd (write Four Friends Memorial Fund on reverse of cheque), to Four Friends Memorial Fund, c/o The Editor, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN

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