A well-known resident of West Hill has died at the age of 97. 

David Price-Hughes lived largely in the village since the early 1960s. He bought the house known as Elsdon in 1952 with his parents, then married and moved to Uganda with his wife Paddy as headmaster of a school in Entebbe, and was subsequently appointed vice-principal of a teacher training college in Mbarara.  They returned to the UK in 1962 when Uganda gained its independence, arriving home with four children aged under 4, to be greeted by one of the coldest winters on record. 

David was appointed as a teacher at The King’s School, Ottery St Mary, then a grammar school, in 1963 where he worked for 11 years, teaching every subject from history to French under the auspices of being the music master.  His passion for music remained with him his entire life and he inspired, taught and enthused many generations.  He set up the Ottery St. Mary Concerts Society in 1970 which he ran single handed, or rather dependent upon the support of his wife and children.  He booked the artists, wrote the programmes and printed them off on a primitive duplicating machine. Paddy made the coffee and the audience were encouraged to collect up the chairs at the end of the concert and stack them tidily. He housed and fed the artists and they repaid him by returning regularly and always commenting on what a fantastic audience and reception they received in Ottery.  He managed to secure huge names, with Evelyn Barbirolli agreeing to be President and recitals from the Bournemouth Sinfonietta twice a year. Audiences were treated to recitals by established names such as Ileana Cotrubus and Jack Brymer, whilst encouraging rising stars such as Julian Lloyd-Webber and Simon Rattle and a variety of well-known ensembles. The society ran for 20 years with a loyal following and welcomed no fewer than 38 international artists with not a penny of subsidy from any council or other body. 

As well as this David found the time and energy to start up his own school in 1974 in his kitchen which became Mariners School and ran for several years.   

He was also a member of the West Hill Players, ran the West Hill Cubs and Scouts, was choirmaster at St Michael’s Church and was a member of the PCC which steered the extension of the church known as the Narthex.  He was a town councillor and chairman of the Village Hall Committee and West Hill Residents Association.  He was on the committee when the West Hill Village Hall was re-sited and was largely instrumental in planning what became one of the first village halls in the country to be planned and linked to the new village school with shared facilities.   

He steered the village through the Queen’s Silver Jubilee with an action-packed programme and much celebration, and for a time coached the local football team. He said it wasn’t very successful, adding that his coaching was successful, it was just that the team wasn’t! 

He became chairman of the East Devon Arts Council and, as an accomplished violinist himself, led orchestras and choirs in Sidmouth, Seaton, Chard, and Axminster, as well as the Ottery Choral Society where he shared his Polos liberally with his fellow musicians. He taught many young violinists in the neighbourhood and many remember the passing over of a shiny five pence piece at the end of the lesson to reward good work. Any international disaster would trigger his busking for charity and he was well known outside Potters Country Market, Sainsburys and various other venues, both local and in Dorset. 

David and Paddy moved to Dorset in the early 1990s, where he was similarly active in Swanage, before returning to West Hill in the year 2010 to the family home, where Paddy sadly died.  

He was a great family man and host. He and Paddy welcomed visitors from over 24 countries, entertaining them with his many jokes and stories. He used these skills to entertain many groups and societies including Probus and the WI, combining music and jokes in his entertainment and donating the proceeds to one of the many charities he supported. 

He died on December 2 in his own home with his wonderful partner Christine by his side and his children around him.  He died full of love and gratitude, and the family celebrate the amazing life he lived to the full. 

The funeral service will be on Thursday, January 5 at Whimple crematorium at 11.45am and all who knew him are most welcome to attend.