Tributes paid to former Bognor music man

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Fond tribute has been paid to the former chairman of Bognor Regis Music Club for more than 30 years.

Derek Debuse has died at the age of 67, following a long battle with the bone marrow cancer, multiple myeloma.

At a celebration of his life, more than 250 people heard of his professional life as a dentist and his passion for all varieties of classical music.

Chris Coote, who succeeded Mr Debuse as chairman, said: “Derek trained at the Royal Dental Hospital, Leicester Square, and met Gill, his devoted wife of over 40 years at this time.

“He went into dental practice in Billingshurst and we were treated to reminiscences by his partner Dereck Hill concerning some of the practical jokes they played on each other, changing our perception of dentists as a rather serious bunch.

“Dereck Hill said that they had never exchanged a cross word in all the 30 years that they worked together.

“David Craig, a colleague at Guy’s Hospital, where Derek lectured and examined for many years, told us about Derek’s work in teaching sedation techniques, and his research on pain and anxiety control.

“For many of us, Derek personified the Bognor Regis Music Club.

“He became chairman shortly after the Club’s foundation in 1978 and only stood down in 2011 due to his increasing ill health.

“His charm and gentle humour won us over, and he never had a bad word to say about anyone.

“Derek loved attending concerts at London venues such as the Wigmore Hall, going backstage afterwards and signing up artistes for the club.

“He was an accomplished pianist, but always self-effacing, and Maurice Thomas, his friend of over 30 years, reminded us of the time when a performance on a three-pedal Steinway hadn’t gone quite as planned, and Derek’s excuse was that he was only licensed to play pianos with two pedals!

“Derek had a particular passion for Piazzola, whose music was heard frequently in the Club’s programmes.

“For many years, Derek played as a member of Tango Vivo where he could indulge his love for the genre, and we were treated to a Piazzola tango at the conclusion of the funeral service. Our thoughts are with Gill, his daughter Maddie and son Stuart at this sad time.”