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Maldon musician and author David Hughes to be commemorated with fan-funded memorial

By Ben Shahrabi

David Hughes
Musician and author David Hughes will be remembered during a ceremony opposite Maldon Town Hall on June 27.
A MEMORIAL to honour an “incredible” Maldon author and musician will be unveiled in a special ceremony, funded by donations from fans.

David Hughes died in April last year, aged 72. Throughout his career as a professional musician, he performed on BBC Radio 4 and worked with members of Fairport Convention.

In 2008, he found semi-viral fame as his satirical alter-ego “Cocker Freeman”. He published parodies of popular songs based on the Maldon District, racking up more than 211,000 views on YouTube.

However, David was perhaps best known as a founder member of the band St Agnes Fountain, which embarks on a Christmas tour every year.

St Agnes Fountain members
David founded St Agnes Fountain in 2001, alongside Fairport Convention's Chris Leslie and popular folk duo While & Matthews. (Photo: Julie Matthews)

Since his death, former bandmates Julie Matthews, Chris While and Chris Leslie have continued to perform while paying tribute to David at each gig.

Through donations from fans, the band has raised funds for a memorial bench which will be unveiled opposite Maldon Town Hall on Thursday 27 June at 2pm.

Julie Matthews spoke to Caroline Coastal FM ahead of a special programme which will air on the station this Saturday at 1.15pm.

She said: “David was a really beloved person.

“When he passed, we thought a memorial bench in his hometown would be a great way for our fans to pay tribute. He loved Maldon so much.

“We have to keep David in people’s hearts and minds. This bench will provide a lovely place for people sit and think about him.”

Due to an overwhelming response, a surplus of donations will be given to Maldon charities.

“People who donated from all over the country will know they’ve taken part in something to commemorate an incredible fella,” Julie added.

In addition to his body of musical work, David was also a celebrated author. His 1996 book “The Maldonians” chronicles a historic period of the town he loved, from 1872 to 1914.

Burnham Town councillor Nick Skeens, a journalist and friend of David’s, described the book as “an absolute joy to read.”

He added: “David was a brilliant writer. He had so many abilities in so many different areas.”

A programme featuring David’s friends and former bandmates will air on Caroline Coastal FM on Saturday 22 June at 1.15pm.


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