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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Talent made Barrow musician Doug widely known

ONE of Barrow’s most well known musicians, Doug Denny, formerly of Yarlside Road, has died at a nursing home in the south of England, where he moved in 2011. He was 93.


Doug first learned the clarinet, which he taught himself to play while in the RAF in World War II, and later took up the saxophone, which became his main instrument. He also played the guitar and double bass. He continued to play in local bands and orchestras until his 91st year.

He was lead alto with the Melody Makers, who performed on Saturday nights in “The Rink” (The Palais in Salthouse Road) for dances, and they won a national dance band competition in the 1950s in Manchester.

One of five brothers and a sister, Doug was born at Haverigg but spent most of his life from early boyhood in Barrow.

His father took up a job with the railway company at the docks and Doug’s first employment was as an office boy there, then working as a bus driver.

With the RAF he served as an aircraft fitter, working mainly on Spitfires, Hurricanes, and DC3s and, after initial training at Millom, was based in India supporting the Far East campaign.

On return to Barrow in 1946 and marriage to Jennie Woodhouse, he joined the Post Office as a telephone engineer where he remained for the rest of his career, eventually becoming a special faults investigator.

Doug made a number of lasting friendships through his work but it was mainly because of his musical talent he was widely known.

Having been in a number of bands playing Glenn Miller-style music, in the late 1950s, he started his own band and for a short time dancers in the area could enjoy the Denny Adams’ Stardusters in venues such as the Recreation Hall, Urswick.

In the 1980s, he played the saxophone in Barrow’s 18-piece big band, Junction, while continuing to be an important musician for a number of amateur groups, playing light classical music and show tunes. He was also accompanist on the double bass for choirs, including the Abbey Musical Society, and performers of musicals, such as the Ulverston Amateur Operatic Society.

Still playing into his 80s, he regularly performed in concert with the Furness Music Centre community orchestra, based at Dowdales School, Dalton.

Doug was living near his son, Douglas, and his family in West Sussex when he died on April 19.

He is also survived by a daughter, Denise.


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