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Hundreds gather at the funeral of Acker Bilk

Mourners say farewell to the jazz legend at Publow Church Credit: ITV News

Hundreds of people, both local and from the world of music have gathered at a church in Somerset to say farewell to jazz legend Acker Bilk.

The clarinet player, who lived in Pensford, was most famous for his hit tune, Stranger on the Shore, but his music career spanned many decades. He died earlier this month at the age of 85.

Today's thanksgiving service at Publow Church included the reading of a poem Acker wrote, reflecting his love of the area he grew up in.

The River, by Acker Bilk

Although not a big river,

T'was endless to me.

We dived in it, swam in it,

Fished it with glee.

We floated log rafts on it,

Watched all the while

By Herons and Kingfishers,

Ducks, single file.

Martins dipping and diving

The Swifts flying free,

Water rats dunking like biscuits in tea.

Reeds full of Moorhens

And a bit further out,

Where the current flowed swifter

Those gold-bellied trout.

The trees on the banks

Were there just to be climbed.

Elbows and knees skinned

But we didn't mind.

A thousand and one things

To see and to do.

A magical place was the old river Chew.

The days of my youth

Not numbered or planned,

I go back to the river whenever I can

Acker Bilk's funeral to be held in Somerset today

The funeral of West Country jazz musician Acker Bilk will take place in Somerset this afternoon.

Mourners will gather at Publow Church near his home village of Pensford.

The clarinetist died on 3 November at Bath's Royal United Hospital. His wife Jean was by his side. He was best known for his signature tune 'Stranger on the Shore'.

Jazz musician Acker Bilk after receiving his MBE at an investiture ceremony held by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Credit: PA

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Acker Bilk's Somerset funeral set for next Thursday

The funeral of West Country jazz musician Acker Bilk will take place next Thursday.

Mourners will gather at Publow Church near Bilk's home village of Pensford in Somerset.

The clarinettist died on Sunday at Bath's Royal United Hospital. His wife Jean was by his side. He was best known for his signature tune 'Stranger on the Shore'.

Acker Bilk in his heyday, 1962. Credit: PA

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