Geoff Walker

Died July 2013


05/07/13 -

It is with great sadness I announce the death of Geoff Walker the banjo player with the Savoy Jazzmen. His funeral is being held at 10 a .m. Friday 12th July at Landican Cemetery, Arrowe Park Road, Birkenhead, CH49 5LY. It was Geoff's request that he would like live music at the service so please come along and give him a good send off.

Peter Swensson The Savoy Jazzmen.


What terrible news! Geoff was in my class at Wallasey Grammar School and had been a friend for years. I had heard that he was not well, but didn't expect this. I will be arriving in Liverpool later that day but cannot change my travel plans at this late date. Would that I could.

Tony Pringle


That's very sad news but thanks for letting me know.

Unfortunately it's a bit too far for me to travel so won't be able to  make the the service. Would you please pass on condolences to Geoff's family from me, my wife Ann and Andy Jenner here in Brisbane.

We have many fond memories of Geoff.

John Braben


Helen and I were deeply saddened to learn that Geoff had died. We saw him fairly recently and he seemed in good health and spirits at that time. I've always enjoyed his banjo-playing and his enthusiasm for the music. Our condolences to his family and to the lads in the Savoy.

Allan Wilcox



Sorry to read about Geoff Walker; He was in the Blue Magnolia JB when I joined it in 1968: A witty and erudite chap. My condolences to his family and the Savoy, who've lost a good bandsman.

Jon Critchley


So Very Sorry to here about Geoff Walker's death, he was a Great Guy and Wonderful fun to share our love of New Orleans Music together.

I first met Geoff in 1973/4 when he played with my Heritage Hall Stompers over here in Tyneside, and we toured all over Europe together with a very memorable time spent together playing in New Orleans with Malc Murphy in the 1970's.

The Circle gets smaller. Rest in Peace Geoff

Brian Carrick


Devastated to hear about Geoff Walker's death. I called in on him for a chat only 3 weeks ago and, though in great discomfort, the same witty, lateral thinking and very funny Geoff came bubbling through.

He and I (very briefly) were founder members of the Blue Magnolia Orchestra in Guernsey in 1965 when he shepherded that young bunch of Wallaseyans in an old RAF van over to do a tour. Andy (Froggy) Jenner put us up and named the band. John Braben tpt, Froggy clt, Terry McGrath sousa, Brian Bamber tenor, Bob Hayward pno and harmonium. Geoff on banjophone - his invention, from which sprouted a 1920s horn from a radio for more volume!

In the 1970s and 80s we raced the same vintage Austin 7s at all the main circuits, and arranged Jazz bands in the paddock marquee. He managed to flip my open, plywood and fabric -bodied, car end-over-end at Silverstone, taking most of the skin off his back and elbows whilst sliding along the tarmac in a T-shirt. He did however win the coveted Voiturette Trophy from the Vintage Sports Car Club at Oulton Park for his daredevil driving.

Geoff seemed prone to such accidents. We shared a microlight flying course. He brought the only available plane down backwards from 60ft up and broke his leg in 5 places. Then on a ski holiday slipped on ice stepping onto the balcony first morning after breakfast and broke his leg again. The X-ray of his leg, complete with inserted metal and screws, made him an interesting banjo vellum for a time.

He claimed that his banjo playing took a huge leap forward when somebody pinched his chord book off stage many years ago and he had to rely on his ears.

I will miss his looming presence, his sense of the ridiculous and his wonderful sideways pragmatic view on the world.

Terry McGrath


Sad and shocked to hear the news, via Pete Swensson that Geoff has passed away. I enjoyed playing alongside him some years ago with Dave and Laurie Renton in 'The Silver Dollar Six' at Parkgate every Sunday afternoon. I recall that it was always an enjoyably strident, lively session with Geoff strumming alongside the drums. He will be much missed.

My condolences to his family, jazz friends and members of Savoy Jazzband.

Alan Davies


It's very sad to hear of the death of Geoff Walker. I have fond memories of him playing with Hugh Gerrard's New Orleans Express in Telford's Warehouse, Chester on Sunday mornings. With delightful candidness he said to me, "When you first arrived in this area, you were terrible, but you're a lot better now!" I trust that's because by then I was listening to the other band members. I'm very sorry we won't be able to 'see him off the premises, so to speak' since we will be travelling down to Swanage on Friday. But we'll keep memories of big lovable Geoff alive in our minds. Our sincere condolences to his family.

Malcolm Hogarth and Isabel Toner.


I'm very saddened to learn of Geoff Walker's death. I always enjoyed his playing and his sense of humour. He and Pete Swenson were the main reasons that the Savoy was such a great band to play with. I'm so sorry that I didn't have a chance to see him on my visit to England last month.

John Dodgshon


May I also say how sorry I am to hear of Geoff's passing. A great guy! Geoff, Liz Bacon (nee Cole), Derek Winters and myself formed an embryo Heritage band when Geoff Walker first came to Teesside back in the 70s. As Brian Carrick says "Rest in peace, the circle is getting smaller"

Now, if that ain't a title for a song....!!

Peter Jezard

Photographs supplied by Terry McGrath

Blue Mags.  Birkenhead 1968 - L to R.  Jeff Samuels.  Geoff Walker.  Ken Dickenson.  Drums?.  Ken Sims. Alan Miller.  Bob Hayward.


L to R.  Geoff Walker.  Bruce Bakewell.  Terry McGrath.  Froggy Jenner.  Bob Hayward.  1997 


Geoff was a good friend of mine - from our Rugby days at New Brighton, our interest in cars and, most of all, our interest in Jazz.
Geoff and I formed New Orleans Express in Chester and I taught him how to play jazz on the banjo. He was an amazing guy with a very unusual sense of humour. We also played together in the Gut Bucket Steam Orchestra. Whenever I visited from Canada he was very happy to let me sit in on bass or banjo.

He will be greatly missed.
Dr. Ron Lloyd.

20/07/13 -

I was very privileged to be party to Geoff Walker's send off. It was as we had discussed at slightly non sober times. 'Wish me luck as you wave me Goodbye' was pure GW humour. Maybe I can presume to quote on Geoff's behalf, as I am sure that he would , thanks all the musos that had nothing else to do on that day and turned up.

Fortunately through the offices of the Savoy band we had the opportunity in the last two years to meet regularly in playing terms and conclude that in spite of our youthful musical descent, we were in fact the best jazz musicians we had met!

I recognition of our relationship I should like to record that he was an entrepreneur, pilot, adventurer, rugby player, racing driver, socialiser, as well as a banjo player. I feel privileged to say that I knew him.

Roy Potts

26/07/13 -

I heard the news of Geoff's passing from Terry McGrath. I owed Geoff a great deal. Not only did I get his seat in the Blue Mags when he left, but I also owe a successful career in industry to him. He gave me some wise and timely advice when I was applying for jobs on leaving university. I'll always carry in my mind the picture of this big, tall bloke half-bent over over a banjo with a fag precariously balanced on the corner of his lip. With apologies to John Bunyan: ..and he passed over, and all the banjos sounded for him on the other side.

Phil Probert

30/07/13 -

Hello Fred,

I am Geoff walkers stepdaughter and my mum (Moira) would really like to thank everyone on Geoff's tribute page for the support and kind words that have been posted on your website which we found all very touching, could you post our thanks to everyone especially the amazing band (all organised by Pete swensson who was so fantastic in helping us in this sad time he was brilliant), that made us so proud to have been able to say our final goodbye in the way that he would have wished for, This is a video of some of the goodbye send off and if any one has any more photos or video's to share we would love to see them.

Thank you



Photographs by Fred McCormick

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