Obituary: Tributes to Norfolk's 'Peter Pan' of music

Violinist Norman Moor

Violinist Norman Moor - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

It was a chance encounter at the age of six that began the lifelong love affair between violinist Norman Moor - who has died, at the age of 94 - and the string instrument.

It came about after he was excused from a games session at school, due to his asthma.

He was taken to the music department instead, where the teacher was asked to find something for him to do. The young Mr Moor was promptly given a violin and told: “Play that”. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Norman Sydney Maurice Moor was born in 1927 in Handsworth, Birmingham, and shortly after moved to Hampton-in-Arden, Warwickshire.  

Educated at Solihull School and Lawrence’s College in Birmingham city centre, his ambition was to become a professional violinist but the early death of his father forced him to abandon his dream as he had to start earning to support the family's living costs. 

At the end of the Second World War, Mr Moor got his first job at the Rover Car Company, joining its despatch department.

Later on, his love of photography saw him move to work in retail at the camera shop, Camera House. Wanting to take close-up photographs of women’s eyes, colleague Len Harris introduced him to a former schoolfriend, Sylvia Stokes, to model. They later married and celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2012. 

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After meeting Sylvia, Mr Moor joined electrical company Dixons and remained there until his retirement in 1989 aged 62. He managed stores in Birmingham, Manchester, Macclesfield and Norwich, as well as becoming an area manager for the north west. 

The couple bought their first home in Macclesfield, where their son Lincoln was born, but while holidaying in a guest house in North Wales, they hatched a plan to run a similar venture. Mr Moor contacted Dixons to ask if they had a shop near the coast and was told one was proposed for Cromer, north Norfolk.  

They opened Home Farm House in a large farmhouse on Hall Road, in the seaside town, and ran it for 10 years. During this time, twins Kaitilin and Justin were born. 

But Mr Moor had never given up on his musical ambitions and continued playing the violin his father had purchased for him, commissioned by his violin teacher and made by luthier John Walker, throughout his life. 

As a teenager, he had set his sights on joining the London College of Music, and spent up to six hours a day practicing. He eventually obtained the London College Associate diploma and the Licentiate diploma and joined the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, aged 20.  

Following the move to Cromer, he performed in chamber groups and orchestras in Manchester, Cheshire and Lancashire. He was invited to join both the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and the Norwich Mozart Orchestra, and was given the position of co-leader in both after just 12 months. He remained co-leader for 28 years.  

During Mr Moor’s time with the Norwich orchestras, he retired and began teaching the violin at Cromer High School, Beeston Hall School, and several others in the area including Gresham's School in Holt.  

Each year over a period of 38 years, he also led an orchestra playing Handel’s Messiah at Christmas in High Kelling, near Holt, conducted by long-time friend, Angela Dugdale.

He took over as conductor of the Cromer Chamber Orchestra until it disbanded during the 2019 lockdown. He also played for many years with the Sheringham Orchestra, later known as the Norfolk Sinfonia. 

Mr Moor decided to retire from musical life at this time, saying that he had played his first note aged six and his last note aged 93. 

Paying tribute to him, his family said: “Although he did not reach his ambition to be a professional musician, his long life was rich in music and there are still countless others whose relationship with music was influenced and inspired by Norman. 

“His wife was supportive of his music throughout their marriage of 59 years and Norman’s children and grandchildren are continuing the Moor family musical tradition to this day. 

“Photography, music and Norman's can-do attitude will live on in the family.”  

Family friend Shay Nash recalled how he was nicknamed "Peter Pan" because he never seemed to age. 

Mr Moor died on December 30 at home with his family. He leaves behind his wife, children, and grandchildren. His funeral will be held on Monday 17, January at 1pm. Contact Kevin Cobbold Funeral Services on 01603 528800 regarding attendance. 

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