A RENOWNED pianist who played a key role in setting up the Ramsbottom Music Festival has died at the age of 83 after a short illness.

Peter Fielding, of Chiltern Close, Ramsbottom, leaves his wife Andrea, 66, children Robert, Hilary, Mark, Beck, John, and Sarah, brothers Gordon and Paul, and more than a dozen grandchildren.

Son John, who lives in Northwich, Cheshire, paid tribute to a ‘humble and selfless’ man.

He said: “He was a very generous and giving man who did not amass a great wealth.

“Dad followed his heart, rather than his head, all his life and devoted many years to music.”

Mr Fielding moved to Blackburn from Southport when he was very young as his father Harold sought work during the 1930s depression.

His dad and grandfather Tom were keen on singing and music, but only classical, and Mr Fielding followed his father into St John’s choir, Blackburn, when he was just seven. It was around this time he also took up piano playing.

Mr Fielding again followed his father’s footsteps into Blackburn Cathedral Choir in 1939 and rose to become a choir prefect.

In 1993, Mr Fielding, who had by that time had moved to Ramsbottom, realised a vision when he helped to set up the Ramsbottom Music Festival, which has thrived ever since.

Mr Fielding, a keen Blackburn Rovers supporter, worked for many years as a biomedical scientist at Queens Park Hospital in Blackburn.

His brother Gordon said: “Peter always had a keen interest in pathology. Even at an early age he could often be found dissecting small creatures, dead of course.

“But Peter’s main love in those early days was music and the piano. His range was wide, Beethoven to pop, the latter to the annoyance of his father.”

A funeral service was held in Ramsbottom on Friday, and a memorial service will take place at Blackburn Cathedral later in the year.