POPULAR bandsman and entertainments company founder Derek Wells has died on the age of 80.
Derek, who died on December 14, was born in 1940 to Stan and Phylis Wells in Moreton in Marsh earlier than the household moved to Evesham.
He attended Bengeworth Junior College and on passing his 11 plus examination in 1951, moved to Prince Henry’s Grammar College. Derek’s lifelong curiosity in music was already evident, as he sang within the church choir at St Peter’s in Bengeworth, whereas cash left by great-grandmother Fanny Hopkins was used to purchase his first saxophone.
Derek was taught to play the instrument by George Palms, a member of the Music Makers Band.
Whereas at St Henry’s, Derek joined the air cadet band and on the similar time shaped his first dance band.
The was frowned upon by the headmaster on the time, Mr Miller, who instructed Derek he couldn’t use his surname within the band’s title.Undeterred, Derek used the identify of the household’s pet Labrador, Bruce, along with his personal, and the Derek Bruce Band was born.
Ever-willing to assist his son, Stan used to load the band’s tools in his trailer, ferry them to the gig after which return to load every thing up once more on the finish of the night time.
Round this time Derek additionally joined the Evesham Sea Cadets and have become bandmaster to the bugle and drum marching corps.
He additionally discovered to play the trumpet and joint the Bretforton Silver Band as a cornet participant.
On leaving college, Derek’s first job was at a allotting chemist at Edwards Pharmacy in Port Avenue till 1963, when the lure of the leisure business noticed him develop into entertainments supervisor on the newly opened Marine Ballroom in Evesham, managing to land Bob Monkhouse as star visitor on opening night time.
By now Derek was working his personal entertainments company and shortly after married Jill Bearcroft, the wedding happening at St Peter’s Church and the reception on the Marine Ballroom.
The couple lived in Hampton and two grew to become three when daughter Sarah arrived in January 1967.
The Derek Bruce Band had develop into highly regarded across the Midlands and was finally provided resident band contracts at Cheltenham City Corridor and Malvern Winter Gardens.
Derek’s leisure company continued to go from energy to energy and in 1985 he and a number of other others shaped the Central Entertainments Council.
Seven years later got here a merger with a southern-based council and the arrival of the Nationwide Entertainments Brokers Council.
Derek’s ardour for music continued unabated and he shaped the Celebration Reed And Brass Band with fellow former Evesham Sea Cadets.
The band went on to carry out at many fetes and concert events, usually taking part in in native parks in the course of the summer time, in addition to taking part in on the annual Remembrance and Armistice parades.
In 2000, Derek was requested by Evesham City Council to tackle the job of reserving all bands for the summer time season at Evesham’s Abbey Park, and such was his success, he additionally ended up reserving bands for one more 11 parks across the south Midlands.
The ever-obliging Derek additionally managed to seek out the time to move on his love of music to the subsequent era, teaching many kids by their varied grade exams on quite a few devices.
In his latter years, Derek suffered from ill-health and was lovingly cared for at dwelling by daughter Sarah. He by no means let his sickness have an effect on his ardour for making music and his willpower to maintain issues working easily.
He will probably be sadly missed by all his household, together with sister Audrey, granddaughter Atlanta, her father Andrew, and all who knew him.
Derek’s funeral will happen on what would have been his birthday, January 5, at St Peter’s Church, Evesham, at 1pm. Underneath present Covid restrictions, the ceremony is proscribed to 30 folks. For these wishing to face in respect to Derek, the funeral cortege will journey up Port Avenue at about 12.45pm en path to St Peter’s Church.
It’s hoped to rearrange a memorial live performance at a later date when restrictions permit.