Family speaks of 'difficult period' in time leading up to his death

The funeral of Liverpool-born street musician and activist Jonny Walker will take place on 20th April, it was announced today.

It will be held in his home city of Leeds, at the 1,400-capacity Leeds Minster, and “all are welcome” to attend. Dress code: “The more colour the better”.

The 37-year-old was a leading campaigner for the rights of buskers to play in Liverpool and elsewhere.

He died on 14th March after spending three days in the critical care unit of Leeds General Infirmary.

Today his family spoke of the “difficult period” the father-of-two had been through in the time leading up to his death and thanked his friends and fans for giving them space to grieve.

“Our family would like to express our deepest thanks for the thousands of messages, donations and expressions of love and support we have received in the days following Jonny's death,” read a statement.

“We are also sincerely grateful for the sensitivity of all those who loved Jonny and have respected our wishes in allowing us time to process the news and grieve for him.

“As a family we want to respect Jonny’s privacy by not disclosing every detail of the circumstances leading to his death, although those close to him know the difficult period Jonny had been through and how proud we were of him despite all he had faced.” 

Read: Jonny Walker obituary

News of the tragedy sparked thousands of online condolences and tributes from across the world, many from people who had formed friendships with him through casual meetings on the streets of towns and cities across Britain where he played; others knew him through watching his regular, live-streamed performances which attracted more than 26,000 followers to his Facebook page.

Jonny, one of three children, was born in Everton where his father, Rev John Walker, was the vicar of the parish of St John Chrysostom. They later moved to Yorkshire. 

In 2016, Jonny graduated from the Open University with a first-class honours distinction in humanities and religious studies. 

Now his family say they are exploring longer term ideas to commemorate his values and what he stood for.

“In the coming weeks we'll be making plans for how we can all celebrate Jonny's incredible life and build a lasting legacy to what he stood for, cared about and meant to all of us,” they said. “He was a truly special person and we want to make sure whatever we do in his memory is just as special."

The statement concluded: “Jonny’s funeral will be held at Leeds Minster, St Peters House, Kirkgate, on Friday the 20th of April. Doors will open at 2.00pm for a 2.30pm start. 

“All are welcome to join us for this celebration of Jonny’s life – Dress as Jonny would, the more colour the better. 

“Thank you once again for your continued love and support. With love, John (Dad) Michele (Mum) Michael (Brother) Sarah (Sister)".