'A true personality' - How north Norfolk musician entertained thousands

John Chandler holding up a CD

Mr Chandler, known affectionately as Notchy, died aged 74 from a brief illness on November 3 - Credit: SUPPLIED

As a north Norfolk town mourned the loss of one of its most well-loved characters, a close friend and former band member recalled his memories of John Chandler’s music career.  

Mr Chandler, known affectionately as Notchy, died aged 74 from a brief illness on November 3.  

As well as teaching hundreds of people to drive, the Sheringham resident, who grew up in Holt, entertained thousands of people across the country with his drumming and singing talents. 

John Jarvis kept a record of Mr Chandler’s band days, mainly because of performing alongside him for many years, but can recall his early years too. 

Black and white photo of East Coast

The band East Coast in 1971 - Credit: SUPPLIED

He said: “He was brought up with his older sister, Joan, at the rear of the small shop, now part of Kings and Barnhams.  

“His working life began at Bertie Bond's Pork Butchers, in Bull Street. But his pork butcher career was short-lived.” 

Black and white photo of a band standing near some trees

An early publicity photo of the band in 1973 - Credit: SUPPLIED

Mr Chandler joined Billy Dunham’s School of Motoring and eventually took over the business, continuing for the next 55 years, only retiring last March.  

But in 1963, his expertise as a drummer showed when he joined his first band, The Surf Riders, at Hempstead. 

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Band member Mike Green became a lifelong friend and by the time Mr Jarvis joined them, they changed name to 5 by Five.   

Black and white photo of the band Fascinatin' Rhythm

The band Fascinatin' Rhythm in 1973 - Credit: SUPPLIED

By the mid-1960s, Mr Chandler had left the music scene to concentrate on his career as an instructor and school bus driver. But the end of the 1960s, along with Trevor Leeder, Mr Green and Mr Jarvis coaxed him out of music retirement, and East Coast was formed.   

During the early 1970s, a new adventure began when the band was signed by Norwich-based Chic Applin Agency and changed its name to Fascinatin’ Rhythm.

Fascinatin' Rhythm in 1973 (left to right) John Chandler, Trevor Leeder, John Jarvis, Mike Green

Fascinatin' Rhythm in 1973 (left to right) John Chandler, Trevor Leeder, John Jarvis, Mike Green - Credit: SUPPLIED

By October 1973, the band had become the first East Anglian act to appear on the then-popular television show, New Faces. 

Eventually, the trio, Star, with Mr Green and Mr Leeder, became the resident band at the former Norwood Rooms, Norwich and Northrepps Country Club, near Cromer.   

Mr Chandler was more recently known for his work as a DJ.   

The band Star, in 1982, (left to right) Trevor Leeder, John Chandler, Mike Green

The band Star, in 1982, (left to right) Trevor Leeder, John Chandler, Mike Green - Credit: SUPPLIED

Mr Jarvis added: “A very keen sportsman, we have fond memories of whenever we went away with the band someone had to sit in the back of the van and hold his golf clubs. 

“[We’ve] lost a true personality and a great and dear friend.” 

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