Teacher’s ‘music will live on forever’ after sudden death in Balcombe

Jon Fielder
Jon Fielder
  • Former head of music at Warden Park Jon Fielder died on February 14
  • Jon wrote musicals at the school
  • His teaching is described as ‘inspirational’

Tributes have been paid to a ‘brilliant, humorous and generous’ composer and music teacher.

Jon Fielder died on February 14 of confluent bronchopneumonia, causing chronic inflammation of the lungs, which was not diagnosed until eight hours before his death.

Jon was head of music at Warden Park in the 80s and 90s, and lived with wife Maggie Kear in Balcombe for 35 years.

She said he leaves ‘a big hole in many people’s lives’.

“The world will be a much richer place through Jon’s music,” she said.

“Jon‘s untimely passing will leave a big hole in many people’s lives, but his amazing music will go on and live for ever.

The world will be a much richer place through Jon’s music

Maggie explained there is to be an inquest, as the coroner wants to review his medical treatment.

Jon wrote 15 musicals with casts of thousands.

“He had an all inclusive policy in all these, as he did in his famous 120 piece school orchestra at Warden Park School,” Maggie said.“If you could only play a few notes he would write a part for you.”

Jon had a ‘you can do it’ attitude. He wrote music for BBC children’s television and composed for orchestra. His Santa’s Magical Visit was played last Christmas by the Halle orchestra in the Manchester Bridgewater Hall and his Lullaby for a Bear was played by the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jon’s funeral in St Mary’s Church, Balcombe was attended by 300 family and friends last Monday.

“The choristers sang their farewells through their tears for their much loved teacher, touching deeply all who knew him,” Maggie added.

Jon was an ambassador of the Loomba Foundation, producing his musical Ragamuffin Man with a cast of hundreds of children at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

“To support the trust which, as an educational programme, was very dear to this brilliant, humorous and generous man’s heart,” Maggie explained.

Brian Webb was head teacher at Warden Park from 1988-2002.

He said: “I had great regard for Jon’s personal qualities and his outstanding teaching and leadership of department and the countless hours he spent with students outside of classes. He will be missed by an enormous amount of young people who attended Warden Park.”

Cheryl Barber described Jon as an ‘inspirational teacher and lovely man’. “He used to compose his own musicals and involve as many kids as possible, both on stage and in the orchestra,” she said. They were massive productions and parents were often left awestruck at the sheer volume of work and commitment of this man.

“He left an indelible mark on a whole generation of youngsters who were infused with his passion for music - my own two offspring, now in their late 30s, still remember him fondly.”