The sudden death in Blyth of a leading local amateur stage director and performer has shocked the music world of the town and further afield.
Trevor Harder, 71, who helped reform the Beaconsfield Operatic Society in 1964, took part in carol concerts just days before he was found dead at his new home in South Shore on Blyth Links.
Trevor is believed to have died suddenly on New Year’s Eve, just weeks after being presented with a 55-year-long service medal by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.
He became interested in music, particularly Gilbert and Sullivan through his father Alan, a Blyth school teacher.
He helped him revive the defunct Beaconsfield Society, using the Beaconsfield Methodist Church, now the Phoenix Theatre, for its productions.
He was active in fund-raising for Blyth Arts Council which led to the building of the Phoenix and his show direction involved not only the Beaconsfield Society but also the Newcastle University Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
On retiring from a distinguished career in the civil service on Tyneside, Trevor became a magistrate in Blyth for several years before moving to Spain and settling in the Benidorm area for some 15 years.
He quickly became involved with the music societies there and some of his productions were staged in the largest theatres in the area.
He returned to Blyth at Christmas 2016, resuming his music interest with both societies.
Katherine Holdroyd. chairman of the Beaconsfield Society, said: “He was welcomed back to Blyth with open arms and his death has come as a terrible shock to us all.
“During his time with us, he contributed a tremendous amount to the society, on and off stage, particularly when we switched from Gilbert and Sullivan shows to tackling the modern musicals.
“He will be a tremendous loss.”
Trevor, a bachelor, is survived by his sister, Ann, who lives in Rothbury.