Since yesterday, many of the UK's toughest men have found themselves weeping uncontrollably. People with solid reputations as hard and dangerous men said goodbye while trying and failing to choke back floods of tears as they told another man they loved him. The one they had come to say their final farewell's to was of course the great Joey Pyle.

Of course, we all knew Joe had been ill for a long time, but strangely, it was still a huge shock. It seems nothing can prepare you completely for bad news even if you know it's coming. The benefit show we all did for him was almost a year ago to the day. I remember some trepidation about whether Joe would make it to see that show.

True to form though, Joe fought on for a year despite the debilitating
illness he was living with, never gave up. I have said before and will say again now, Joey Pyle did a lot more good in his eventful life than he ever did bad. Sure, he did some naughty things but he also worked tirelessly for sick and underprivileged children among many other good causes. He would frequently visit Zoe's place children's hospice with the other chaps and was so touched and inspired by these amazing kids that he wrote a book called 'Looking at life' and gave every single penny it made to Zoe's while simultaneously exposing those huge companies that had made vast fortunes from children's products but refused to give anything back. Joe continued with this work until his strength finally deserted him. His loyalty and generosity to his friends was also huge. While others talked about it, Joe just did it and there were very successful benefit nights for Ronnie Biggs, Charlie Bronson, Wendy Lambrianou and many others. Joe was always being asked to help out somebody or something and I personally never saw him turn anyone down.

As far as the chaps are concerned, I would certainly say Joe was the most popular and I truly mean that. There were many reasons for this, not least Joe's larger than life personality. Perhaps the biggest factor was that despite being close to the Nash family, Joe wasn't connected to anyone firm so became friendly with all of them. For example, he was great friends with the Kray's and the Richardson's so could pop down the East End and see Ronnie & Reggie or into South London for a drink with Charlie and Eddie. He was good friends with both Roy Shaw and Lenny Mclean, Freddie Foreman and Jack Mcvitie. Within the so called underworld, Joe had no enemies to speak of. He always saw the advantages in peace over mindless violence for violence sake. He would also stick up for the underdog despite the fact it may have upset some faces. For example, he always said that Jack Mcvitie deserved a far more dignified end than he got. "Jack died like a grass, a slag and he was no grass. He deserved a far more dignified end than a room full of people jumping on him to try and impress the twins."

Roy Shaw will tell you straight that Joey Pyle literally saved his life
three or four times over. It was because of Joe's involvement that Roy
finally saw the light of day after barely surviving hell on earth, drugged up with the liquid cosh, hallucinating in pitch darkness in the dungeons below Broadmoor. Without Joe, would Roy have died a slow painful death in the bowels of hell a forgotten man? Roy will answer yes!

Joe stood by Dave Courtney at a time when it would of been far easier for him just to blank Dave, Joe didn't. Many did though, only to drift back because Joe was sticking with him.

Joey Pyle Snr. and Dave
It was Joe that Charlie Bronson called Dad after his own father passed away. There was no criminal link there, it was just that Charlie looked up to Joe, learned from him and was inspired by him. Charlie is just one of those hard men that are not ashamed to have shed many tears since yesterday. The amount of quality people I have spoken to since yesterday has been truly mind blowing and no, they are not all rascals.

The vacuum that will be left by Joe will be impossible to fill, in fact it's not worth even trying. He was a one off, unique. He was also the glue that kept many people who on the face of it had nothing in common together. 'How's Joe?' was a classic ice breaker and got people over awkward conversation lapses. If you think I am over playing the importance of Joe, it's obvious you never even knew him.

Roy Shaw, Joey Pyle and Tony Lambrianou in slightly younger days

I could go on and on and on but I shall leave it there.

God Bless Joe, you will NEVER be forgotten.

Tel Currie



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This page last updated 20TH February 2006