The funeral for the well-known Fulham musician Billy Franks has been held following his sudden death last month .
The singer-songwriter, filmmaker and author, who counted Prince Harry as a friend and fan, was cremated at Putney Vale Cemetery on Wednesday (October 12).
He is best known as the frontman of Faith Brothers, who supported groups such as R.E.M and Boomtown Rats during their 1980s heyday, and for his years playing small and intimate venues across the Capital as a solo artist.
Billy lived and grew up in Fulham Court, and was living close to Charing Cross Hospital when he died on September 20, aged 60. The cause of his death is still unknown.
His niece Rachel Hiron said her uncle would have been proud of the send-off he received.
She said: “It was a beautiful service. There were people that couldn’t fit into the chapel.
“Then a band performed in the chapel, along with his daughters playing the tambourine and percussion to one of Bill’s songs Just. It was lovely.”
Billy’s music continued as family made their way to Broadway Bar and Grill in Fulham , where he had played live.
Rachel continued: “The DJ there knew Bill from when he played there live, and he’d regularly slip in one of Bill’s songs into his playlist.
“We had such a massive party singing and dancing, it was a great night.
“He would’ve been over the moon with that send-off and so proud of how his girls coped.”
Friends and family remembered Billy as a generous man who would always go out of his way to help others, and a JustGiving page set up to help pay for his funeral raised more than £4,500, smashing the £3,000 target.
At the height of the Faith Brothers fame, he appeared on TV shows such as TV-am and Wacaday.
He grew up and lived in Fulham Court, and his early hit of the same name was one of many adored by fans.
Speaking shortly after his death, Rachel said: “He still had a massive following and he was really loved in the area.
“He was a very well liked man, and just everyone really got on with him.”
Among his legion of fans was Prince Harry, who came to see him perform at Shepherd’s Bush Empire a few years ago, and joined Billy at the aftershow party in legendary The Troubadour near Earl’s Court .
As well as his music, Billy was also a gifted writer, who recounted his travels across Europe and America in his autobiographical book A Far Cry from Sunset. This later inspired the film Tribute This! which featured Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams and many more stars.
He loved performing and recently played gigs at the Chelsea Pensioner in Fulham Road.
Family friend Ellie Rashbrook, who set up the JustGiving page, said his sudden death had left a community and fans stunned. She said: “He lived in Fulham Court and one of his greatest hits was Fulham Court. It was about growing up in Fulham; everyone in Fulham knows that song.
“He was such a nice guy and what’s happened is shocking. We are all completely heartbroken.”