Matlock composer and broadcaster dedicated his life to music

Fred Brough, pictured with members of his family.
Fred Brough, pictured with members of his family.

Matlock composer and broadcaster Fred Brough has died at the age of 82.

Pianist and baritone singer Fred developed a love of arranging music as leader of Wirksworth Choir, after training on cornet and tenor horn at Gawthorpe Brass Band, near Wakefield.

The poverty of his upbringing after his father Cyril died in the local coal mine inspired his cousin Baroness Betty Boothroyd to take up politics.

He and wife Irene moved to Derbyshire in 1970.

In the 1970s Fred was a district councillor, chairman of Matlock Round Table and then the organisation’s area chairman for North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.

Developing as a gifted public speaker Fred was invited by Matlock writer Deric Longden to broadcast regularly on BBC Radio Derby as a music pundit.

Wanting to dedicate himself to music, he turned professional and moved to the Dordogne area of France in the late 1980s.

There he composed for two choirs simultaneously with new wife Barbara in Meyssac and Beaulieu, singing in Notre Dame, Paris, as well as countless regional performances.

In 1998 he laughed: “We brought choral music to this area. Now it’s so popular the priest wants one choir for the church and the mayor wants the other for the town.”

Fred was also variously a survivor of the UK’s Pacific nuclear tests and chess champion of Christmas Island, surveyor of public buildings in West Derbyshire and responsible for controversially ordering the iconic white Matlock Bath Pavilion be painted milk chocolate brown.

He discovered, identified and preserved the 15th century Cruck House in Wirksworth for posterity.

Fred returned from France to the UK with current partner Pauline in 2010, enjoying long walks in St Ives Bay with her.

He died on January 10 in Truro after a two-year illness and is also survived by his children Graham and Kathryn and five grandchildren.