Donations are sought in memory of a much-loved campaigning Chester busker who died suddenly.
Jonny Walker was a well-known face on the streets of Chester but also in towns and cities across the country.
The 37-year-old Liverpool-born musician died in hospital in his home city of Leeds last Wednesday (March 14). Details about the cause of his death have not been revealed.
He is survived by a loving family including his two young children.
Jonny was known not only for his music but his campaigning activities on behalf of the rights of buskers and the vulnerable. He helped lead a successful fight against a proposed Public Space Protection Order in Chester city centre that would have targeted rough sleepers and buskers.
Now his family have set up a fund-raising page in his memory so Jonny’s thousands of followers, both in this country and around the world, can ensure his legacy lives on. So far £6,684 has been raised towards the £85,000 target.
Jonny’s brother Michael wrote: “Jonny was a devoted father, street entertainer, campaigner, professional musician and activist.
“He brought hope for the sick, the lost, the vulnerable and the lonely. Jonny touched the lives of thousands across the world with his music, compassion and kind spirit.
“It is incredibly moving to see the way so many are reacting to the news of my brother’s death. My family and I never imagined having to face life without Jonny.
“Yet somehow it feels like he is still so close, as people continue to share the many incredible ways in which he touched their lives. We have been comforted greatly by this and have had countless people ask about ways they can show their love and appreciation for Jonny and all he stood for.
“As a family we have set up this fundraiser as Jonny didn’t have savings, and there is much to cover following his death.
“We also want to raise funds to ensure his legacy lives on and further the work of causes he so passionately supported such as homelessness, busking rights, and Keep Streets Live, the campaign for which he was both founder and director. With heartfelt gratitude and blessings for all who loved him. x”
The outpouring of grief for Jonny has been immense with social media comments from around the globe including by people who never met him but watched him perform when he live-streamed his busking sessions on Facebook.
A group of buskers in Hong Kong inspired by Jonny’s campaigning work staged a torch-lit musical tribute after dark. Newspapers in Chester, Liverpool, Yorkshire, Norfolk and London – where Jonny left his mark – have all run tributes.
Among the hundreds of comments is one from campaigning comedian Mark Thomas who pushed Jonny around Chester on a mobile bed in protest at proposals that would have seen rough sleepers fined £100 by the council.
Referencing an earlier campaign against a PSPO in Camden, London, he tweeted: “Sad news that our friend and founder of the Church of the Holy Kazoo Jonny Walker has died. Love to family. X”
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