Hundreds pay tribute to Sheffield author

JP Bean 4. Author JP Bean  in Ecclesall Woods.
JP Bean 4. Author JP Bean in Ecclesall Woods.
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Hundreds of people paid tribute to an ‘astonishingly talented’ Sheffield author who died aged 66.

J P Bean, real name Julian Broadhead, was the official biographer of Sheffield rock legend Joe Cocker and chronicler of Sheffield’s Gang Wars.

His funeral service was held at Sheffield Cathedral, with friends and family crammed into the pews.

Bean’s son Alex Broadhead said how much he would have loved to have seen everyone gathered together at the service as he was never happier than when surrounded by friends.

He said: “I am blown away by all the love for him. My dad valued friendship profoundly. He had a zest for life and a unique imagination which was fuelled by sympathetic souls.

“We’ve never doubted that he was true-hearted and astonishingly talented. I was privileged to be his son.

“He was a teller of stories whether it was oral histories and whether he was championing prisoners or letting his four-year old son dictate stories to him while he bashed them out on a typewriter.

“My first memory is of falling out of my cot and he came to pick me up and he never stopped picking me up.

“He was a force of personality who made people from all walks of life treasure his friendship.”

Bean’s daughter Amy Willsher paid tribute to her ‘wonderful father’ adding: “Very few people can fill a room but he was one of those people.”

He is still best known for his history, Sheffield Gang Wars, telling the story of a city terrorised by the Mooney and other gangs in the Twenties.

It was turned down by 21 publishers before he self-published. His garage was stacked to the roof with books he had to sell himself – to date it has sold more than 30,000 copies.

Bean had previously worked in a bank and as a gas fitter, before writing about another well-known gas fitter – Joe Cocker. He joined Cocker on the road in Germany for two years before the book appeared in 1990.

He also worked as a probation officer for 30 years.

Cocker’s You Are So Beautiful accompanied his coffin from the service.

Bean, who lived in Greystones, leaves a widow, Sheila, as well as his children Alex and Amy.