September this year saw the loss of one of the most inspirational characters from my past. We all have people that we look up to and admire and musically  Alan Melly was that chap for me. At junior school I had witnessed Alan in his element, entertaining me and my fellow schoolmates with a woodwind demonstration accompanied by Eddie Moors Senior the local music shop owner and well known entrepreneur. Alan wowed us all with a rendition of “pop-corn”, which included slap-tongue and other amazing effects. He showed us what a musical note looked like by firing a ping-pong ball out of the clarinet and he put the clarinet to bed by playing it piece by piece, slowly disassembling it whilst playing the Brahms Lullaby. It was this sense of humour and love of music that went on to inspire thousands of Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute players to achieve great things. This aside he was a great musician who performed with so many well known bands and musicians including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Palm Court Theatre Orchestra, The Dudley More Trio (on TV) and so many more that I would be here all day listing them. I was fortunate enough before the first lock-down to catch up with Alan in his favourite coffee shop; The Fleur De Lis in Christchurch. What was going to be a quick half-hour turned into 2 hours of reminiscing of the old days. He had also given me the thumbs up with my creation – The Red Fez Orchestra and came to see the band twice. This was high praise indeed and meant a lot to me and other members of the band. Alan’s passing marks the end of an era and I only hope that I myself can leave such a lasting impression as a musician and teacher for the next generation.