Tim Briggs obituary

Other lives: Librarian and music teacher with a love of performing, from theatre to chamber choirs

My brother, Tim Briggs, who has died aged 62 following a short illness, lived a full and busy life as a librarian, teacher and musician. He performed in, and often directed, countless musical events and shows.

Born in Solihull, West Midlands, Tim was the eldest child of Helen (nee Fryer) and Dennis Briggs, both teachers from working-class backgrounds. With our sister, Mary, we were brought up among books and encouraged academically and musically. In the early 1960s we moved to Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, where our father taught at a teacher training college, but were often at our maternal grandparents’ home in Painswick, a Gloucestershire town that Tim loved all his life.

At North Bromsgrove high school, Tim was among the first of the comprehensive generation, his years highlighted by ambitious musical productions that inspired his career.

He studied history at Queen’s College, Oxford, graduating in 1981, and after working as a library assistant at Warwick University trained as a librarian at Loughborough University (1983), a natural step for someone who designed his own library system as a child.

He then ran mobile libraries in Hertfordshire (1983-86) and worked as a librarian for Corsham and Box, Wiltshire (1986-90). During these years he was active in many musical productions, including a Jacques Brel-themed show at Edinburgh in 1983.

In 1990 he moved to Cornwall to work as the library co-ordinator for Barnicoats, Penryn, and became involved in musical events with companies including Penryn Community theatre, Panto in the Pub, Carnon Downs drama group, Chacewater Players, Carharrack Players and Playrite theatre. Sometimes he was “just” the pianist, often the musical director.

In 1994 Tim retrained as a teacher, teaching music at St Francis Church of England school, Falmouth (1996-2002), Falmouth community school (2003-05), including one day a week for Cornwall County music service, Chesham Park college, Buckinghamshire (2005-07), Cotswold school, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, where he was head of music (2007-14), and Tudor Grange academy, Worcester (2014-20).

Committed to extracurricular musical activities, he encouraged young performers through his professionalism and talent, as well as his calm kindness and humour. He was always helpful and involved, whether for a musical, charity run or simply being a Gruffalo or turnip for his grandchildren.

A member of Hereford chamber choir from 2014 until retirement in 2020, Tim then settled in Plymouth and joined choral groups there, performing in NHS the Musical at the city’s Theatre Royal in 2021.

From his first marriage, to Maureen Stevens, he had two daughters, Kate and Harriet. That marriage ended in divorce, as did his second, to Julia Murray. He is survived by his daughters, four grandchildren, and Mary and me.

Jonathan Briggs

The GuardianTramp

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