Last Sunday, we had a gig in a newly restored chapel near Cavan, which was fairly difficult to find.Simon Pocock - Blues in Brittany

We were the second part of the concert, the first one being a choral group organised by an Italian woman who lives in the next valley, and whom we met once when her dog strayed to our place.

I arrived early and was talking to Alan, when another trumpet player turned up.

 

Jean-François and I joked that this wasn’t a good week for trumpet players in the band, as last Wednesday Alan had a burst blood vessel in his arm, and on Friday Jean-Claude went to hospital for observation, as he had a very minor blockage and couldn’t articulate properly for an hour, but then it passed, but he was still scanned, etc, at Rennes.

Jean-François said:
“Actually, I don’t feel too good”, then got his mobile out and phoned his wife, then started to collapse.

Alan and I caught him and laid him on the ground. Someone dialled 18 and my only useful contribution was to call for Gérard (the clarinet player), who is a retired doctor.

He was really good, did a heart massage and got Jean-François breathing again by the time the pompiers arrived.

They promptly put him in the ambulance and the backup team arrived in a white SAMU car. They worked on Jean-François for another 45mns, but he had another attack and died in the ambulance.

It was awful and traumatic, especially for his wife who had just turned up.

Apparently, he had been having chest pains for a month but hadn’t seen a doctor. The worst thing for us was that we then had to go ahead and play a concert. The sax player next to me was a total mess as was the whole band, shedding tears.

A truly awful evening. The funeral is tomorrow. The only perk with the band is you get the band to play the music of your choice when you go.

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