Enterprising DJ from Corby finds new niche entertaining mourners at funerals and wakes

DJ John Headley Picture: SWNS Group
DJ John Headley Picture: SWNS Group

An enterprising DJ from Corby has branched out from school discos and kids’ parties - to entertain mourners at funerals and wakes.

John Headley, 53, took some leaflets offering discos for wakes to a funeral parlour and was chuffed when he started getting bookings.

The DJ is now booked in for an Elvis-themed wake and one man even organised for John to put on karaoke for his family before he died.

John says the unusual service - which costs as little as £35 an hour - is a way to celebrate a person’s life and brightens up the usually glum events.

Some of the wake parties John has hosted have gone on into the early hours with one celebration lasting 12 hours.

The father-of-two said: “I took some leaflets into Co-operative funeralcare and they thought it was a great idea.

“It takes the sting out of the way because funerals can be very morbid and I just think it’s a chance for a celebration of life instead of everyone being sad.”

John started offering discos and karaoke for wakes after a request from a family whose mother had died from cancer.

John said: “The first one I did was really weird, but the family came up to me and gave me a little cuddle.

“They told me that it is what their mother would have wanted, a party for them to celebrate her.

“It’s a release almost because afterwards you can deal with the grief. But that day is a celebration and it is a service I offer which is about trust.”

John, who owns Spirit in the Sky Entertainment, has run a mobile disco for 15 years doing weddings, parties and Christmas functions.

He also travels all over the country along with his inflatable parrot, Tim, which sits on his microphone stand. When people ask what it’s about, John says: “Ask the parrot.”

Married John, who also volunteers at Corby radio station, added: “With the music I try and keep it really happy, people dance along and the last one I did was from 12 in the afternoon until midnight.

“I got a round of applause at the end which was really humbling.”

Last year John provided entertainment for the wake of close friend and fellow radio presenter Andy Coupland who died of lung, kidney and bone cancer last August aged 53.

Andy’s wife, Rosalin Coupland, 53, said: “When Andy got really ill we spoke about his funeral and he said he wanted John to do a disco because he didn’t want everybody being miserable.

“He also wanted everyone to go in fancy dress, but I said that was too much - he said he just wanted to make everyone look stupid.

“Andy had picked the songs for his own funeral, but he wanted John to do the wake. The songs were just anything uplifting.

“It all had to be dance party stuff - everybody had a good time and we all got up and danced.

“I preferred it being uplifting. Everyone that came said they had never been to a funeral like that before and that it was great.

“Obviously at the crematorium there were a lot of tears but when we got back for the wake it was a much nicer atmosphere.”