A SECOND volume of a history of music making in the Forest has been launched.

Local historian and Verderer Maurice Bent spent much of his time in his latter years finishing the book The Musical Tradition of Dean, Volume Two.

The subjects in the book include ladies’ choirs, children’s choirs, the pianist Kathleen Munn and composer Herbert Howells.

The official launch of the book was held at the Dean Heritage Centre in Soudley.

Among those who spoke was one of Mr Bent’s friends, Vice Lieutenant of Gloucestershire Roger Deeks.

He said: “I attended many public events with Maurice in his role of Verderer, before the Covid epidemic, and it was always noticeable that he remained true to his Forest character wherever he went.

“He was always proud of his Forest working class identity and would greet the ‘great and the good’ as ‘ol Butt’.

“He produced four books, a great achievement given that like so many of his generation his early education was rudimentary, but he wanted to tell the story of the Dean he loved.

“He enlisted the help of his children in researching and publishing his books.

“However, it was his last publications; The Musical Tradition of the Dean, Volume One and Two, that absorbed his time in later years, reflecting his love of music and the rich musical legacy of the Forest of Dean.

“He was an authority on Herbert Howells and many researchers and biographers turned to Maurice for information.

“His books were based on detailed research and investigations that yielded Forest brass band, choral, entertainment and general musical photographs, trophies and ephemera, all of which he donated to Dean Heritage Centre for public appreciation and where they can be seen today.

“The books and collection he left behind are a remarkable testament to the musical heritage of the Forest and an enduring legacy of Maurice’s passion.

“Maurice was an excellent church organ player, more latterly at St Paul’s, Parkend and All Saint’s, Viney Hill where scarcity of people able and willing to play kept him in demand in his very senior years.”