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Founder member of town’s Gilbert and Sullivan society dies

PUBLISHED: 11:31 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:38 26 June 2018

Bernard Gooch was the first musical director of the Great Yarmouth Gilbert and Sullivan Society
Picture: Gooch family

Bernard Gooch was the first musical director of the Great Yarmouth Gilbert and Sullivan Society Picture: Gooch family

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A music lover who was a founder member of the Great Yarmouth Gilbert and Sullivan Society has died at the age of 99.

A meeting of the society. Bernard Gooch is seen seventh from the left in the second row next to his wife Gloria
Picture: Gooch familyA meeting of the society. Bernard Gooch is seen seventh from the left in the second row next to his wife Gloria Picture: Gooch family

Bernard Gooch, of Chestnut Avenue of Bradwell, died on May 30.

He was instrumental in setting up the society in 1954 following a conservation his brother Norman had with fellow Gilbert and Sullivan admirer Michael Barker, who was a power plant surveyor.

Mr Barker and Mr Gooch then got in touch and started talking about holding monthly meetings.

The society was then formed after a general meeting of like-minded music lovers was held at the Marine View Hotel on North Drive by invitation of owner Mr and Mrs Pashley.

That meeting saw at least 60 prospective members attend with people travelling from Lowestoft and Southwold to attend.

It saw Mr Gooch made its musical director and the society was given the name of the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

In 1960 the word Lowestoft was dropped from the society due to a lack of members from Suffolk town and its cumbersome title.

The society enjoyed packed audiences for its club nights at Great Yarmouth Town Hall.

In 1978 the first full scale costumed production of The Mikado was performed at the Grammar school on Salisbury Road.

In his memoirs Mr Gooch said he had a “great love of Gilbert and Sullivan” and recalled listening to his mother singing I’m called little buttercup from HMS Pinafore when he was about six or seven.

Mr Gooch was also a member of the Gorleston Choral Society and visited the Great Yarmouth Recorded Music Club. He was an organist and choirmaster at Belton church and taught the piano.

He was married to his wife, Gloria, for 67 years. She died in 2009.

They had three children, Paul, Madeline and Barbara, and Mr Gooch leaves three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Paul Gooch said: “The society is still staging concerts each year and their 64 years of existence is a fitting tribute to my father, whose inspiration and hard work brought the society into existence.”

Mr Gooch’s funeral will be held at Gorleston Crematorium on Friday, July 6 at 11.30pm.

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