Paul Bagshaw obituary

Other lives: Flautist who went on to teach woodwind in Oman and Bahrain

My friend Paul Bagshaw, who has died aged 62, after suffering from cancer, was a musician who made a remarkable impact on his students and the communities in which he lived. His legacy of music-making in Bahrain, Oman and South Africa is significant, and he made friends wherever he went.

Born in Preston, Lancashire, the son of Margaret, a teacher of art and dance, and Ron, a nuclear scientist, Paul went to Kirkham grammar school, and took up the flute aged 11. A county music scholarship enabled him to study with Atarah Ben-Tovim, then principal flautist of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and he went on to the Royal College of Music in London, graduating in 1979.

Paul performed with various UK orchestras before relocating to South Africa to become principal flautist of the National Orchestra of South Africa. He married Melita Hummel and his children, Tristan and Stephanie, were born. In addition to a busy performing career, Paul was involved in educational initiatives, pioneering the Township Music Education Concert scheme.

Several years after his first marriage ended, Paul relocated to Oman. From 1998 to 2005 he served as flute teacher in Sultan Qaboos’ ambitious classical musical initiative. He mentored young Omani musicians at all stages of their education, contributing to an initiative unique in the region. Paul loved Oman, returning many times to attend performances at Muscat’s Royal Opera House, and to explore the countryside.

Paul’s musical adventures ultimately took him to Bahrain. In 2005 he became woodwind teacher at St Christopher’s school there and undertook a PGCE. Highly regarded by his instrumental students, key stage 3 music classes, and colleagues alike, “Mr B” cut a larger than life presence. His influence extended well beyond the school campus; organising concerts at St Christopher’s Cathedral in the capital, Manama, and in 2015 founding the St Christopher’s community big band.

Not long after arriving in Bahrain, Paul met Jean Lopez, and they married in 2008. In his role as representative of the Trinity College exam board in Bahrain, Paul ensured that many young musicians had an opportunity to access music exams. He and Jean worked together to organise biannual sessions on the island, accessible to young musicians based in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia for whom access to a formal music exam system was limited.

Paul is survived by Jean, Tristan and Stephanie, his parents, and his brother, Mark.

Mary Elizabeth Kelly

The GuardianTramp

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