The West Riding Branch of the SRP are very saddened to report the death of their Musical Director Roy Corbishley on 3 July 2002. Roy had been diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier in the year and we knew that the treatment he was receiving was palliative but his death, nevertheless, was a great blow to us. He leaves a widow, Beryl and two daughters.
Roy was born in 1930 and grew up around Stoke-on-Trent. He learned to play the recorder at school and played on into 2002 a period of over 60 years. Indeed he played in a concert on the day his condition was finally diagnosed. After his school education Roy went to Manchester University graduating with a first in mathematics. He then moved into teaching and lecturing, finally moving to Bradford where he first lectured at Margaret Macmillan College of Education and later at Bradford College taking early retirement in 1982. Until last year he continued to visit Bradford College and each year completed the A-level maths papers, providing solutions and teaching notes for the use of students. In 2000 the Mathematical Gazette published a paper by Roy on the Hale-Bopp comet.
Roy maintained his recorder playing throughout his education and in 1955 made his first appearance at a recorder summer school at Roehampton in the Lower Intermediate class run by Layton Ring. He belonged to SRP branches in the Stoke and Manchester area before he joined the West Riding Branch in about 1965. It was around this time that he met Annie Hird a fellow SRP member who owned a row of garages in Bradford. Annie rented out the majority of the garages but kept one for music making and Roy played for many years in what was known as “Annie’s Garage” or “Annie’s Hut”.
Roy became Secretary of the West Riding Branch in 1971. In 1976 he passed the CSRP examination, a success of which he was very proud. It was also in this year that Roy started to attend the SRP Annual Festival and Conference as branch delegate, something he did until 2000. In 1977 the National Festival was organised in Bradford and Roy himself did much of the work. In 1980 Roy was successful in gaining his ATCL. In 1983 he instigated the Bingley meetings of the branch, firstly in the British Legion and latterly at the “Little House” where we still meet today. In 1988 Roy was made Musical Director of the Branch and throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s Roy took on the lion’s share of the conducting with his usual enthusiasm. This commitment helped to ensure the branch’s survival at a time when membership was faltering.
In more recent years Roy played regularly with Marian Palmer’s group in Ilkley and moving up from “garage music” played one-to-a-part consorts with friends at the home of Peter and Agnes Reid.
Roy was a recorder player whose enthusiasm for the instrument was infectious; he was also a player who was prepared to put in time and effort to help others enjoy the recorder. Whilst never claiming to be a great player Roy was more than capable of holding a part on any instrument in a consort which made him a valuable asset in any group. As I rang round the members of the Branch to inform than of Roy’s death I received many comments about how much Roy will be missed as a player, a character and, most poignantly, for his wonderful smile. Roy had a quite wicked sense of humour and West Riding will be the poorer for its loss.
In putting together this obituary I contacted a number of people who had all known Roy for longer than I and I would like to thank Mary Bonsor, Peter Roscoe and Jennifer Stankley in particular for their invaluable help.