Tribute to Geoff Roberts - Norfolk folk hero

from Pete Rushmer - March 4th 2021

GeoffIt is with great sadness we have to advise that NORFOLK FOLK HERO and ‘pilot’ of Norfolk’s Flying Folk, GEOFF ROBERTS died recently after a short spell in hospital.

Geoff, a quiet, genial, unassuming Norfolk man, was an enthusiastic stalwart of the Norfolk folk scene, within which his unique and rousing Flying Folk nights have become an enviable and much enjoyed institution over the last three decades.

Flying Folk nights are uniquely itinerant, in that a different venue is visited each session, typically on a Saturday night and at a local pub. They fall mainly within a 20 mile radius of Norwich, although the occasional foray further afield has been equally successful over the years.

Since the early days Geoff’s Flying Folk nights have taken place regularly on a roughly monthly basis, with a break in the Summer, and with a special session every Boxing Day. They have grown enormously in popularity and standing over the years. This is in no small way due to Geoff’s enthusiasm and commitment, along with that of his wife Myrtle, organising things himself and keeping in close personal touch with participants and venues alike, many of whom have become good friends over the years.

With Geoff “in the cockpit” as MC, and Myrtle at his side, he’ piloted’ lively, rousing, free and open sessions for folkies and non-folkies alike. Consequently, for years now Flying Folk has attracted a loyal following of talented amateur and semi-professional performers, along with the occasional professional. Contributors are some of the best in Norfolk, often with close links to the Norwich and Norfolk folk scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Many others are encouraged to join in, though, and are always made welcome.

There can be no doubt that the heroic commitment Geoff made to his Flying Folk nights, along with the support he regularly received from a faithful corps of performers, enthusiasts and venues, helped make these sessions the legend they have become.

Read more: Tribute to Geoff Roberts - Norfolk folk hero

Robert Hodgson - Amended obituary

This obituary appeared in Mardles magazine, August - October 2015. The original version had a date error which has now been corrected. Apolgies to Robert's wife Lilian Hodgson who brought this to our attention.

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Obituary: Mary Moore

Some Mardles readers may remember Mary Moore who died recently. She was a regular at Suffolk sessions including the one at the Kettleburgh Chequers


Mary MooreMARY MOORE, the Suffolk-based granddaughter of golf legend Samuel Ryder, and creator of dozens of beautiful village signs in the county, has died at the
age of 86. Mrs Moore, who lived at Brandeston, near Framlingham, was President of the Samuel Ryder Foundation, created in memory of the man who founded the Ryder Cup - now one of the sporting world’s most prestigious tournaments. Paying tribute to Mrs Moore, the Foundation described her as “a wonderful person, and a very proud and passionate supporter of her grandfather’s legacy. She attended seven Ryder Cups, home and away.

“She was a huge advocate of Samuel Ryder’s ethos and belief in the power of the game, and the enjoyment that it brought to so many people.” Interviewed by the EADT in 2019, Mrs Moore said her grandfather died only a couple of years after she was born. “So he knew me as a baby, but I don’t remember him.” Mrs Moore said she loved attending the Ryder Cups, where the Ryder party, usually numbering six or seven, were able to mingle with celebrity guests. She named Colin Montgomerie as her favourite player “because he spoke so politely and pleasantly to me”. Samuel Ryder initially created the Ryder Cup to give golf a higher profile. At the time, in the 1920s, it was something of a poor relationship compared to sports like tennis.

Mrs Moore wasn’t sure what her grandfather would have made of the huge sporting phenomenon his tournament has become. She said: “He would be astounded. Whether he would be happy with the scale of it now, I’m not sure. He never visualised this.” After attending art school, Mary married Hector Moore, a blacksmith, farrier and metalworker, who lived and worked at Brandeston. The couple were together for 44 years until Hector’s death in 1999. The Moores became well known locally for creating some 50 ornate village signs throughout Suffolk and also in neighbouring counties. Mary used her artistic talent to design the signs, including features from each village, and Hector employed his metalwork skills to create them. Mrs Moore was also a talented singer and musician, often taking part in local performances.

Report from the East Anglian Daily Times 23rd January 2021

This Woman's Work BBC Sounds

If like me you're a fan of Cara Dillon, you may be interested in a new BBC Sounds programme broadcast on BBC Ulster, This Woman's Work in which Cara plays music by female singers who have inspired her.

CaraDillonThere's some folk but lots of other great music too: Deanta, Dusty Springfield, Taylor Swift, Regina Spektor, Kate Bush, Dervish and others

You can listen to the series HERE  

Simon Haines

Music for Glynn Thomas' Etchings

Screenshot 2020 12 20 at 11.10.54If you live in Suffolk or the surrounding area, you've probably seen the distinctive work of the artist Glynn Thomas, whose etchings have been displayed in galleries around East Anglia for many years. Although some of Glynn's work features images from other parts of Britain and beyond, many of his etchings are of well-known East Anglian scenes. A few years ago, I came up with a musical idea: The Hosepipe Band were looking for a subject for original compositions and a new recording, and it occurred to me that Glynn's etchings might be an ideal subject. I approached Glynn who seemed happy with idea and even produced a new image for us: Polstead Meadow, a round picture ideal for the label and from cover of a new Hosepipe Band CD.  We selected 8 of Glynn's Suffolk etchings and members of the band composed music to accompany them. We played our new music at the opening of an exhibition of Glynn's work at the John Russell Gallery in Ipswich and also, together with slides of his images, at Colchester Arts Centre and other venues in our area.

Glynn Thomas was born in Cambridge in 1946. He studied at the Cambridge School of Art specialising in illustration and printmaking For many years now, he has been a full-time professional artist living in Suffolk. You can see a full range of his etchings on his website at

For this recording, members of The Hosepipe Band were:
•  Geoff Combs - Octave mandola, Mandolin, Percussion
•  Simon Haines - Melodeon, Hurdy Gurdy
•  Nick Sadler - Bass guitar
•  Val Woollard - Saxophone, Flute, Recorder, English bagpipes, Dulcimer

Below are the texts and sound files which accompanied the seven etchings on the CD cover. Click in sound files to hear the music.

Read more: Music for Glynn Thomas' Etchings