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'The residents absolutely love it'- Meet the former band member who sings in care homes

PUBLISHED: 13:13 05 June 2019

Unsung hero Derrick Watts, 71, from Dereham, travels to care homes across the local area to sing for residents. Picture: Supplied by Carolyn Coleman

Unsung hero Derrick Watts, 71, from Dereham, travels to care homes across the local area to sing for residents. Picture: Supplied by Carolyn Coleman

Archant

For many years he toured East Anglia with his country band to entertain the crowds. Now, he spends his time performing for a different kind of audience.

Unsung hero Derrick Watts, 71, from Dereham, travels to care homes across the local area to sing, make jokes and chat with the residents.

While he earned a living as a plumber, before retirement, Derrick also had a second life as a member of the band The Country Boys, one of East Anglia's top country bands back in the 80s.

With his wife Josephine acting as roadie and manager, the band were always working and playing to full houses across the region.

Now, Derrick sings for the residents and staff in local care homes, visiting once or twice a month to perform music from the residents' youth.

He said: "Performing with the band was a lot of travel and a lot of late nights on the road. But it was a lot of fun too, meeting all sorts of people.

"I loved the camaraderie in the band and I also loved to sing with the band. We decided to call it a day in 2005. Since then, I mainly sing for pleasure and for other people."

One of the care homes he sings at is Oak Manor, a specialist residential home for people with dementia.

He also performs at Lincoln House in Swanton Morley, which he visits once every fortnight, among several others.

Mr Watts added: "My mother was always in a home and the people there used to fall asleep in front of the telly. They needed some stimulation.

"The residents absolutely love it, there is all different types of music. The idea is to get them up and moving.

"I get them to stand up and clap their hands. Some of the places I go, all the residents sing along with me."

After helping out on the reception desk at St Nicholas Parish Church for many years, he also now serves as the Verger at the church.

Derrick Watts has been nominated as part of The Times' Unsung Heroes campaign. Do you know a person or organisation that deserves recognition? To enter fill in our form at www.derehamtimes24.co.uk/heroes.

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