Friends of a Long Melford musician who died aged 44 have staged a fitting tribute evening of music in his memory, raising thousands of pounds.
Lee Payne, who also known as ‘Chunky’, or ‘Fat Cat Lee’, was well-known on the music scene in Sudbury. He died in May.
A group of close friends decided to organise a concert at the Delphi Centre, in Newton Road, at the end of last month, featuring bands that Lee had a close connection with.
The evening was called Chuggin for Chunk, a celebratory music event in memory of Lee, as Chuggin for Chunk was one of his favourite sayings.
It featured bands unlabelled, Stretch Soul Band, The Marksmen, Hal Wrayzer Combo and Restless with DJs Mark and Lin, and compere Chris Harman.
Lee was the bass player with local bands called Big Boss and The Fat Cats and The Fat Cat Trio, and founder member and bass player of Mojo Kings.
Friend Mark Harman said: “A dear friend of ours, Lee passed away quite unexpectedly and very suddenly at the age of 44, leaving wife Mandy and two children, Connie and Billy.
“A few of his close friends decided to arrange a celebratory music event in memory of Lee to raise money for his family.”
Mark said: “We had five bands and DJs all giving their time for free, and we sold out of tickets within a week.
“We had some wonderful raffle prizes donated by various people and many local businesses.
“The event raised over £3,200, with more cash donations still coming in, and we would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support.
“The night was a huge success,” he added.
The event was organised by Lee’s friends Kev Starie, Kev Stagg, Graeme Gould and Mark and Jane Harman.
Vouchers and donations came from Sudbury hairdresser Fatal Attraction, Long Melford’s George and Dragon pub and the Bull Hotel, as well as the Black Lion pub in Glemsford, towards the evening.
Sudbury supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s donated vouchers and products, and department store Winch & Blatch gave organisers some glasses.
Long Melford restaurant Melford Valley donated a meal for two, and Stour Meadows Animal Feeds in Glemsford gave a voucher, as did Tiffiny Tearoom in Long Melford. Corn Craft in Monks Eleigh donated a cream tea for two,
Howie’s Snack Van in Sudbury made a cash donation and Halcyon Days in Bury St Edmunds donated a prize of a facial.
“Because of the generous donations from local business and individuals and those who took part and attended, money raised has gone to selected recipients including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Suffolk First Responders and Compassion in World Farming.
“We’d like to thank Ray and his team at the Delphi Centre for all their help on the night.”
Lee was described as “a big man with a big personality” and “a wonderful man” and a Facebook page called Chuggin for Chunk set up for the event where friends paid tribute to him.