The town turned out to say a final farewell to a Gazette reporter who spent his working life covering Jarrow’s news.
Hundreds of mourners packed St Matthew’s RC Church, in York Avenue, yesterday to pay their respects to Terry Kelly.
The 57-year-old died at his home in Jarrow on January 13 after spending the last 14 months battling a virus which had attacked his lungs and seen him endure months in various hospitals.
During his 34-year career at the Gazette, Terry made numerous loyal contacts, many of whom turned out to yesterday’s service.
These included South Shields MP Emma-Lewell Buck, the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Richard Porthouse, and literary and media colleagues from across the country.
Terry, who was married to Val, and had a daughter Kate, was also an avid poet, a writer for the London Magazine, a ‘Dylanologist’ – which saw him write for Bob Dylan magazine ‘The Bridge’– and a stalwart for the Larkin Society, which charted the works of poet Philip Larkin.
Terry was an exceptionaly talented manPaul Kelly, Terry’s brother
Terry’s younger brother Paul, also a former Gazette reporter, gave a touching tribute.
He told the congregation: “Terry was an exceptionally talented man who lived a very happy life.
“Throughout his last challenging months, his body may not have been doing what he wanted it to do, but Terry’s intellect – and crucially his sense of humour – remained as sharp as a razor blade.
“I remember ‘Terry the merciless mickey-taker’ back in 2001 when a highly anticipated new Bob Dylan Album was due for release. At the end of an evening out he slipped me a CD, saying it was a pre-release copy of the disc.
“He whispered ‘keep it to yourself’ in a conspiratorial tone. When I got home and played it, it was George Formby singing When I’m Cleaning Windows. He’d done me up like a kipper.
“It’s really tough to say goodbye, But, as the song goes, ‘I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places’.
After the church service, Terry was taken to South Shields Crematorium, where the cortege entered to the track Time Passes Slowly by Dylan.
Then mourners made their way back to St Matthew’s Church hall, where an exhibition of Terry’s life, including his published works, were put on display.