Wigan charity night remembering Northern Soul DJ Stephen

Stephen Garner
Stephen Garner

A popular Northern Soul fan, DJ and long-running pub quizmaster from Wigan is being remembered with a tribute night for charity.

Stephen Garner, from Highfield, died aged just 60 after a short battle against lung cancer.

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A Wigan Casino regular, Stephen spun the decks at Northern Soul events across the borough and was also known for stretching the grey matter of visitors to The Venture in Highfield for years with his quizzes.

Now a group of fellow soul fans who have known him for years are preparing for a night of vintage and contemporary American music at The Old Courts in aid of Wigan and Leigh Hospice and Help The Aged.

Stephen died at home just a few weeks after his diagnosis, surrounding by his long-standing friends from the music scene.

They also acted as his pallbearers at his funeral at Wigan Crematorium, which was attended by 150 people and included some of the songs that made the Casino famous.

His sister Lynn Ryan, 58, said: “He was very much known in Wigan through Northern Soul.

“We’re a very ordinary family. Stephen was probably slightly unusual in that he remained a bachelor all his life but he was very social.

“His DJing meant his work and life overlapped and he tried his very best to stay in that world.

“He was still out doing a bit of DJing not many weeks before he had to stop working.

“After our dad died he moved in with mum to support her and he actually took her to some of his music events. At 85 with Alzheimer’s she was being converted to Northern Soul!

“He knew the cancer was incurable but it all happened very quickly. They were going to operate but he became too poorly for treatment.

“He died with his friends from the very early Northern Soul days surrounding him. That was very moving to see and they carried his coffin too.”

Stephen’s funeral, unsurprisingly, had a Northern Soul theme with the order of service featuring tracks such as I’m On My Way and Time Will Pass You

By, two of the Three Before Eight which ended each Wigan Casino all-nighter and the floral decorations reflecting the music.

Stephen will also be remembered with the all-dayer at the Crawford Street venue on September 30 being arranged by a group of soul enthusiasts including Crooke Hall Inn landlord Dean McDonald.

There will be seven hours of Northern Soul, classic and contemporary soul and Motown with many of the people who ran the Sunday events at The Orwell being reunited.

The event is from 2pm until 9pm. Tickets are £4 in advance or £5 on the door.