Musician was a founder of Cromer Carnival

Talented musician Gordon Kerry, who has died aged 96, was for many years at the forefront of the entertainment scene in and around his birthplace of Cromer.

Mr Kerry was an original committee member of the event which became Cromer Carnival, then known as the 'Parade', a producer for the prize-winning Cromer Players and also for Cromer and Sheringham Operatic Society which achieved record attendance levels, still unbroken, during his time with them.

Born into a family which owned a dairy business and a pork butcher's, Mr Kerry's earliest memories were of early-morning milk deliveries by horse-drawn cart.

He began learning the trumpet and piano while a pupil at the Paston School, in North Walsham, and as a teenager he indulged his love of music and the stage by working backstage at Cromer's Pier Pavilion Theatre.

Music and theatre remained a leisure interest throughout his life as his parents advised against a career in entertainment and so he took a an apprenticeship with ironmongery firm Gunton Sons and Dyball, in Norwich, turning down a job travelling with a concert party.


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But Mr Kerry carried on with his piano playing and other music, giving piano lessons to fund tuition in advanced rhythm.

When war broke out, Mr Kerry enlisted with the RAF police, travelling in Europe and Canada and reaching the rank of sergeant. He was involved in the D-Day landings, and went across Europe to the Nazi concentration camp at Belsen, and on to Geneva.

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He married his first wife, Iris, during the war and they had a son, Patrick. Family responsibilities and a long absence from home during the war led him to turn down the offer of a world tour with a top act of piano duet players and the family returned to Cromer where a second son, Tony, was born.

Mr Kerry took a job with the antique silver and jewellery firm Henry Levine, staying with them for 47 years until he finally retired, aged 73.

At one time Mr Kerry, who had a lifelong interest in the Big Band sound of the 1930s and 1940s, had his own dance band, The Rhythm Four.

Outside the world of music and drama, he was on the founding committee of the popular St John Ambulance Darts League and took part in several documentaries about Cromer and its lifeboat, including one about lifeboat legend Henry Blogg which was recorded at his home in Meadow Road and later broadcast nationwide.

Mr Kerry's talents also extended to puzzles and he invented two board games, which were sold to a national toy company. He compiled crosswords and other puzzles for a well-known puzzle magazine and helped design puzzles for the launch of an international puzzle publication. He used these skills locally to compile quizzes for charity fund-raisers.

Widowed in 1987, Mr Kerry married his second wife, Maureen, in 1992. His funeral has already taken place.

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