A SOMERSET family has bid farewell to an accomplished military musician and raised £500 in his memory.

David Lawrence lived in Crewkerne his whole life, and joined Crewkerne Town Band playing the cornet at the tender age of nine.

After an accomplished career, Dave spent time at Sunnymeade Care Home in Chard.

When he died on July 22 of this year, the Lawrence family raised more than £500 for the home in tribute to Dave.

David Lawrence’ military career started in 1959 when he began his national service.

After completing his initial training with the Somerset Light Infantry, where his musical skills were recognised and Dave was accepted into the regimental band.

Paul Lawrence, one of David’s two sons, said: “After only 10 weeks with them, he was transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Military Band and was stationed in Reading.

“During the two years of national service he played at Wembley Stadium when England played Poland, and at the Earls Court and Edinburgh Military tattoos, at Hyde Park, Queens Park, the Botanical Gardens and Victoria Park to name a few.”

Returning to Crewkerne, Dave continued in the town band, for which he was secretary for 38 years.

During this time, the band would be declared Best in the West, and they played in Colston Hall in Bristol, The Albert Hall in London, and The Art Centre in Poole.

One highlight was playing at a Wurzel Gummage Day at Longleat where John Pertwee conducted the band in front of the grand stately home.

Paul added: “Dad was a keen gardener and the wonderful garden is a testament to that passion. He loved watching sport, especially Arsenal FC.

“Dad was a life member of Crewkerne Royal British Legion, and for many years was their president. His is the first name on the branches Presidential chain of office.”

Dave moved to Sunnymeade Care Home in July 2019 where he received regular visits from his family.

Dave died suddenly but peacefully on 22nd July 2020.

His family added: “Dave was a wonderful husband to Margaret, Dad to Paul and Mark, as well as father-in-law to Tracey and Helen, and Grandad to Dominic, Kyran, Sophie and Jamie. He was greatly loved by all.”