A LONGSTANDING member of Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has retired after almost 60 years with the organisation.

Violinist Reginald Charlick joined when BSO was known as Basingstoke Orchestral Society. He was secretary for 30 years and has played in nearly every concert, admitting (in BSO’s Diamond Jubilee publication) to missing only one.  

Mr Charlick, who lives in the South View area of Basingstoke,  announced his retirement from Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra after BSO’s last Anvil concert a few weeks ago.

He said: “For many years I have wholeheartedly enjoyed playing on Friday nights at rehearsals with a friendly group. But now it’s time to retire and I send my best good wishes to everyone.”

Former BSO conductor Peter Marchbank contacted Reginald to pass on his good wishes, writing: “What a marvellous achievement! It’s 50 years since I first came to Basingstoke and you were already an established member of that small and select group who met at Fairfields Infant School every Friday evening.” 

Clive Evans, BSO’s concert manager, added: “I have been with the orchestra since the mid 1960s and Reg was then a long-established member and secretary of the Orchestra. 

“As well as playing the violin, Reginald ran the orchestra virtually single-handed for very many years even designing, building, storing and transporting bespoke staging for our concerts at the Shrubbery and St Michael’s Church.

“He also wrote, bound and published a very comprehensive history of the orchestra, which he wrote using an old fashioned typewriter”. 

Reginald, who worked for many years as a qualified engineer, was born in Par in Cornwall and started playing the violin when he was seven years old. He played with Tywardreath Youth Orchestra, Cornwall Youth Orchestra and, later, Swindon Railway Orchestra.

Shortly after arriving in Basingstoke, he was persuaded to join the Methodist Orchestra in Church Street by local hairdresser and cellist Bill Woodcock. He progressed to the Basingstoke Orchestral Society under Frank Banwell, later renamed BSO under Peter Marchbank.

Reginald wrote in the BSO’s Diamond Jubilee publication: “The enjoyment of playing with the orchestra has undoubtedly been the highlight of my life.”

Clive concluded: “I will miss Reg very much - he was one of the established players that looked out for me when I first joined as a teenager back in the 1960s and has been very supportive ever since.

“He was always first to arrive at rehearsals and concerts to help set up, was always cheerful and was full of anecdotes about the orchestra - he kept us all amused in the pub after rehearsals on many occasions!

“I hope he will continue to play with Deane Sinfonia and in Alton and maintain his lifelong love of music.”