Live updates

Derek Watkins: Family statement

Derek died surrounded by his wife, their children...and grandchildren after a two year long battle against cancer.

His great love for his family and his legendary trumpet playing as well as his gift of laughter and friendship will mean he will be remembered for generations to come.

Wendy & family would like to thank everyone for their incredible support and outpouring of love for this wonderful man.

He was amazed but very honoured to have received so many messages and also comforted by the knowledge that his trumpet playing and reputation will live on for future generations to enjoy and admire.

– Wendy Watkins & family statement

Bond trumpet ace Watkins dies

Derek Watkins
Derek Watkins played on the soundtrack for every 007 film from Dr No to Quantum Of Solace. Credit: www.derekwatkins.co.uk

Derek Watkins, the British trumpet player who played on every James Bond film soundtrack, has died aged 68.

The lead trumpet player, who was described by the great Dizzy Gillespie as "Mr Lead", died yesterday at home in Reading following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Watkins was "widely considered to be the foremost British Big Band trumpet player ever to grace the stage", according to Philip Biggs, editor of the Brass Herald.

After turning professional aged 17, he enjoyed a lengthy career in which he played with The Beatles, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

He played with the BBC Big Band and performed for prominent jazz musicians Johnny Dankworth, Maynard Ferguson and Benny Goodman.

Mr Biggs described him as "a people's person - no side, no ego, a fun loving musician who couldn't get enough of life, who loved his family".

He is survived by his wife Wendy and their children, Sean, Ellie and Sarah.

Watkins was born into a brass band family and taught to play the cornet at the age of four by his father.

He then played in the band his father conducted - the Spring Gardens Brass Band in Reading, of which is grandfather was also conductor and a founder member.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Today's top stories