A talented young musician will be remembered at a big music event this summer.
Tom Dewhurst, from Deanshanger, died in a tragic accident in 2013, at the age of 23.
Restaurant manager Tom was also a highly talented drummer, who was well known for playing with many local bands including The Swamis, LionSex and Ophelia.
Together with guitarist Paul Jackson of The Swamis, he formed alternative indie rock band The OmniVibes.
Tragically, Tom died after falling from a hotel window in Prague while on his brother James’s stag party.
Some 200 mourners attended Tom’s funeral at Crownhill Crematorium in September 2013, many wearing the T-shirts of local bands and Buckingham BandJam.
When we lost Tom, I promised his mum, Sarah, I would do something”Colin Saunders
BandJam co-founder and longtime organiser, Colin Saunders, helped carry the coffin.
Now Mr Saunders is launching an all-day music celebration and Young Drummer Of The Year competition in Mr Dewhurst’s memory.
The free event is being held at Buckingham Community Centre on Saturday, June 20, as part of the Buckingham Fringe, supported by Buckingham Town Council. In tribute to Tom, the event is called ‘And The Beat Goes On’.
The family-friendly festival will start at noon with music from local young bands.
Mr Saunders said: “The doors will be open so people can come and go as they please. ”
The Young Drummer Of The Year contest will start at about 4pm. The winner will receive a hand-carved wooden plaque with an image of Tom playing the drums, specially commissioned from Pury End artist Len Goff, which they can take home for the year.
Then the plan is for the rest of the evening, until 11pm, to be filled by performances by some of the many bands Tom played with.
Mr Saunders said: “When we lost Tom, I promised his mum, Sarah, we would do something because he was so loved by everybody he came into contact with.
“At BandJam last summer, his mum asked me to tell everyone we’d lost Tom.
“I said: ‘We want to do a festival but I need people to help me.’ When I thought of a young drummer competition, drummers and friends of Tom just came out of the woodwork and said: ‘We’d like to do this’.”
Mr Saunders first met Tom when he started attending the weekly Buckingham BandJam open mic nights at the age of about 13, brought by his mum.
Mr Saunders said: “Tom loved it. We got him up to play in a BandJam Band and he was just unbelievable. He was a very, very good drummer and because he looked like Harry Potter everyone called him Harry.
“Technically he was just brilliant. He really hit the drums hard. He was so energetic when he played, sweat used to pour from him, so he used to strip to the waist.
“Tom just impressed everyone – anyone could sit and talk to him. He’d sit there in his quiet way and chat to you about things.
“Music-wise, he would always encourage people. He was just a special lad.”
Bands and young drummers wanting to take part in the festival should contact Mr Saunders as soon as possible on 01280 860650.