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Tributes to Sunderland’s saxophone king

DEVOTED FAMILY: Vince, second right, with, from left, grandson Daniel, son Vince, and Eric Delaney. Below, TV star Benny Hill on whose show Vince played.

DEVOTED FAMILY: Vince, second right, with, from left, grandson Daniel, son Vince, and Eric Delaney. Below, TV star Benny Hill on whose show Vince played.

A WEARSIDE man who became one of Britain’s most respected big band musicians has died.

Vince Bovill’s love of the saxophone knew no bounds.

He began playing in bands when he was just a child before travelling the country as a musician and then becoming a woodwind instrumental teacher at schools across Sunderland and South Shields.

The 89-year-old collapsed with a heart attack two doors away from his home in Oakfield Close, East Herrington, on Wednesday, January 9.

But his legacy of music will live on in the thousands of people he taught over the years.

During Vince’s musical career the list of bands he worked with and the venues he played at made up a who’s who and where’s where of entertainment in the 1940s, 50s and early 60s.

After a spell with the Vic Lewis Orchestra, he played in the Oscar Rabin and Eric Delaney bands, playing on the soundtrack of films, at the Come Dancing finals, at the Paris Jazz Festival, for the Benny Hill Show, at the Palladium for the Royal Command Performance and more.

Closer to home, Vince, who was born in South Shields, played to packed houses at the Empire Theatre, Seaburn Hall and the Locarno in Roker.

As with most big band musicians, the dad-of-two’s career came to an end with the rise of the guitar, bass and drums pop groups in the early 60s.

But he switched to teaching instead.

His son, Vince Bovill junior, 55, said: “After he stopped teaching in schools, he taught privately up until about three years ago. He must have taught thousands of people over the years, getting them through their exams. We are tremendously proud of him.

“His legacy lives on in them and also in his grandson Daniel who is a drummer. He passed a lot of skills on to him.”

He added: “We’ve uncovered so much since he died including a live recording by the BBC at the Royal Albert Hall. He certainly had an interesting life.”

Vince had met up with Eric Delaney, hailed as “one of the true entertainers” at the Board Inn pub before Eric’s death two years ago.

His death left Vince as the sole survivor of the Eric Delaney Big Band.

Vince leaves wife Jean, 82; daughter Christine, 60 and son Vince; grandchildren Victoria, Robin, Daniel, 27, and Rick, 25, and great grandson, Freddie, two.

l Vince’s funeral will take place at Sunderland crematorium at 10am on Monday.

People are asked to make donations to the Customs House Big Band in lieu of flowers.

Twitter: @sunechokaty

 

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