Remembering Bernard Hawkins

25 April 1933 – 18 May 2022


We were saddened to hear recently of the passing of a regular Traditional Music Day visitor in Stowmarket – Bernard Hawkins – who made his annual pilgrimage to mid Suffolk from his home town in North London by train, with one of his melodeons on his back.

Bernard’s niece Lindy recently contacted us and the family have very generously donated several of his melodeons and accordions to EATMT for which we are extremely grateful.

Bernard was born and lived most of his life in North London – he and his mother were evacuated at the outbreak of the second world war to Bressingham, Norfolk. He fell in a pond and nearly drowned and so his mother felt he was safer back in the capital. The stay in Norfolk was therefore brief!

Music – and particularly folk music and the Morris – played a huge part in Bernard’s life. He formed a Skiffle Group initially and later became involved as a musician for the Enfield Chasers Morris – a female North West clog side (running between 1981 and 2005) and also with closely affiliated Etcetara Morris – a Cotswold side also based in Enfield. Friend Ann described him as a generous, kind and patient man who encouraged musicians to get involved.

Bernard led a varied life – as well as his involvement with music, he was a keen cyclist, a member of the Enfield Literary Group particularly writing poetry, he was an active Trade Unionist, helped set up Servicemen for Peace group locally, was a vegetarian, environmentalist and very interested in alternative medicine.

His family have created a website which has links to his humanist service as well as containing several memories – some written by Bernard – and a selection of photographs. For those that came across this gentle man at Traditional Music Day, it is well worth a visit: Bernard Alfred Hawkins – A Memorial

Bernard Hawkins – a portrait

Alex Bartholomew, March 2023