Mourners celebrate showband manager Tommy Hayden as 'one of good guys'
Tommy Hayden was a legend and a gentleman; appearing on 'Top of the Pops' before turning his hand to becoming a talented impresario and mentor to the likes of Louis Walsh.
Friends told how in a music business run back then by "rogues and scoundrels", Mr Hayden stood out as "one of the good guys".
Hundreds of mourners packed the Church of the Holy Rosary in Greystones, Co Wicklow to pay a final farewell to Mr Hayden (75) of the Nevada Showband, who died on Saturday following a long illness.
Among them was Louis Walsh, who was given his big break with Hayden's management company, T.H.E when he started off in the business by making tea and sending off press releases.
"He gave everybody a break -- he could spot potential," Walsh said. "He managed everybody in the business back then -- Chips, Red Hurley, Dickie Rock -- anybody you can think of."
Linda Martin -- whose band Chips was also managed by Mr Hayden's company -- said: "We have lost another legend. He never drank or smoke, he was a very, very nice man -- always honest and always a gentleman."
Chief mourners were his wife and "soulmate" of 53 years, Anne; children Janette, Paul and Wayne as well as his grandchildren Daniel, Kiana, Craig, Jenna, Mark, Andrew, Sophie and Jack.
Other well-known faces at the funeral included broadcaster Marty Whelan; former showband associate Roly Daniels; promoter Oliver Barry; Nevada band members Jim O'Connor and Val Kearney; and promoter Kieran Kavanagh.
The funeral Mass heard Mr Hayden described as a man of strong personality and deep faith.
"He was born on April Fool's Day -- but he was no fool, we all knew that," commented chief celebrant Fr David Gibson.
"He was an astute businessman, a hard worker and an excellent provider for his family."
Mourners heard how Mr Hayden became a saxophonist after graduating from the London School of Music and had returned to Ireland, becoming established on the showband scene.
Entering the financial side of the business, he became "hugely successful", managing the likes of Johnny Logan; Niall Toibin and Brendan Grace.
A guard of honour was formed outside the church by members of the Greystones Golf Club, where he was a member for many years.
The coffin was taken for burial at Redford Cemetery in Greystones.
Belfast Telegraph Digital