TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known Malton tailor and musician.

John Piercy, who was 73, worked for more than 50 years in the trade after his mum found him a job at Maenson Clothes in Pickering on his 15th birthday.

John set up his own tailor’s shop after the closure of the Maenson factory, which, earlier, had been taken over by Manny Cousins from Leeds.

With his redundancy money, he bought a lease on a shop next to the Gazette & Herald office in Yorkersgate. In 1981, he moved to Castlegate and expanded the business by selling all gents’ outerwear and doing alterations.

In his spare time, John and a group of friends set up one of Malton’s popular bands, Billy and the Four Js, which consisted of a singer named Billy and four Johns. Their first booking was at Nobby Clark’s youth club which was next to Jackson’s supermarket. The band also used to play for half an hour between film showings at Malton’s Palace Cinema.

After Billy and the Four Js split up, John played for a number of years with a band called the Four Knights. Later they formed a band called Triangle and played at dinners and dances all over Yorkshire.

John gave his musical talents to the pantomime, providing musical accompaniment for more than 36 years.

John had two sons, Nicky and Justin and five grandchildren. He was married to his wife, Sandra, for 26 years. The couple lived in West Knapton.

Sandra said: “John retired when he was 66 and although he’d had some bad health over the past five years he still did a lot of voluntary work.

“John was my best friend and I couldn’t have asked for a better husband. We had a brilliant life together and did as much as we could in the time we had together.

“I have had so many cards, letters and flowers for which I am very grateful and I am so proud of all the lovely things people have said about John.”

Friend and fellow musician David Wakeley said: “Like many many more, I was very shocked and saddened to hear of John’s sudden death.

“In my early years he played a massive part in my life.

“He played with with three other Johns and a Billy, in Billy and the Four John's.

“They were our main opposition in the area so when Billy Abbey and later John joined Paul Farnell and me we played for a few years before Billy left and we formed Triangle Band.

“We played until our middle thirties when John and me, I suppose retired from playing in groups. We saw each other regularly around town.

John was a great bloke to be with, and a very good singer and drummer.”

David said: “Life was never dull and at times he kept us wondering what he was going to do next. I will always smile when I think of him.”