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In Celebration of Mick Peat

Separating Derbyshire, folk music and Mick Peat is a pointless exercise— they are so inextricably linked.

Ripley born Mick was a time-served master craftsman—as it said on his truck—M.J.Peat Traditional Builder. Having witnessed Harry Webb playing his first gig as Cliff Richard at Ripley’s Regal Ballroom beyond thousands of us give thanks the magnet of folk music attracted him. He began performing at Alfreton’s Upstairs Cellar in the 60’s before setting up his own folk club and with The Ripley Wayfarers toured professionally with numerous tv and radio broadcasts, recording 6 albums over a 25 year period.

Mick’s next venture, alongside Barry Coope, was the highly acclaimed Rogues Gallery who went on to perform and create the music score for The Northern Mysteries in a record-breaking run at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre coincidentally in a version by John Tams. Mick was one of the longest serving presenters and best—known voices on BBC Radio Derby with his Folkwaves show—a 25 year tenure syndicated across the East Midlands. Following the tragic Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 The Derbyshire Volunteers was formed and remains on-going—a free-giving assembly of local musicians intent on raising charitable funding and Mick was the first in line often referring to himself with his usual self-deprecation as Private Peat when Field Marshall was nearer his rank.

More recently as a successful promoter he established the Derby Folk Festival, building it to achieve national status, annually breaking records and massively improving the local economy. Mick holds the Andy Potter Award for Services to Community Arts and was recently awarded the prestigious “Gold Badge” the highest order of The English Folk Dance and Song Society.

He lived for many years in Fritchley, Derbyshire in a cottage he largely built himself with his wife Celia and lots of cats. A service officiated by Canon Dave Perkins, a fellow musician and vicar to the Duke of Devonshire will be held at Fritchley Methodist Chapel. Had these been normal times Derby Cathedral would have been filled. Not unusual for Mick—a full house!

Some words from our patron

When I think of Derby, I think of Mick. When I think of John Tams and Coope, Boyes and Simpson, I think of Mick. When I think of War Horse, the concert, with John Tams and Barry Coope, or of Private Peaceful, the concert, I think of Mick, of the warmth and generosity we always received from Mick and Celia, after our long journeys up from Devon to Derby. And oh, the rolls, the huge ham rolls, the crisps, the beer, the biscuits. Always a feast of forbidden food!

He worked tirelessly to make a success of every concert we did, filled halls like no one else, ironed out this problem or that, made them go away. With Mick there we always went on stage in good heart, full of good cheer.

But above all he was passionate about folk, folk people, folk song, the people and the music. What times he gave us. How we shall miss him.

Michael & Claire Morpurgo

Tunes for our builder

For Mick's 80th birthday, his friends composed and performed a pair of tunes for him: One For Mick and The Traditional Builder. We would love to share these with you, so that you can learn and play them in his memory.

They were performed here by the Derbyshire Volunteers featuring Sarah Matthews (Fiddles), Doug Eunson (Melodeon), John Adams (Mandolin & Electric Guitar), Fi Fraser (Fiddle & Hammered Dulcimer), Jo Freya (Saxes), Pete Bullock (Baritone Sax), Alan Squires (Trombone) and Barry Coope (Keyboard, Cajon & Programming). They were written by Sarah Matthews and Fi Fraser

If you would like to learn them, you can download sheet music and midi files here.


Mick touched so many people's lives. Here are some of the many kinds words that have been sent to us about him. We will keep building this wall in his memory so if you would like to add a stone, please Get in touch.

Magic is many things to many people. When I was little, magic lived in our house in the shape of a friendly, four-legged, three-eyed monster. His name, which was tattooed on his wide forehead, was Decca. On many days, Decca sat silently in our living room, his presence curiously ignored by a roomful of furrowed faces. But sometimes, my big sis would open his wooden mouth and feed him a huge round black biscuit with a coloured centre. And suddenly, Decca would sing with the voices of Pinky and Perky!

When I was older, they let me feed Decca the discs myself, as long as I was really careful. By then, Pinky and Perky seemed rather silly. My big brother’s California Girls and their Good Vibrations seemed to make me far perkier than those squeaky little piglets ever did. But often as not, it wouldn’t be the sounds of sunny California I would choose, but a record from big sis’s collection instead, which was a funny old ragbag of tunes and songs by a band called the Ripley Wayfarers - from nippy Ripley, just up the road. And suddenly, I was dancing merrily on the village green, listening to the blackbird’s din, as happy as a king with a ling dong dilly dong Cairo me - whatever that was. I never did get what a hey-fo-lairo was, either. Or why mum always stopped me singing the song about opening the tin of Birmingham broth.

But I remember one of the singers the best. He had the voice of a great big grizzly bear – only this bear sarnded rate proper Derbyshire. One year, we went on holiday to Whitby, where people played squeezy boxes and danced and waved hankies all over the place. And there, my Dad introduced me to the man with the bear’s voice! He shook my hand, and said, “’E’s got hands like digger buckets, just like his Dad.”

Then the man with the voice of a bear shouted his commands to the dancers, and people obeyed! “Left hand star! Basket!”

No-one ever dared get it wrong.

Best of all, Mum and Dad, my big brother and big sis and I all laughed, along with everyone else who was there. Worldly cares, aching backs, wheezing chests and familiar frowns all flew far away. And it was all because of the man with the bear’s voice and laughing eyes. We will always remember him. His name was Mick.

Chris Orme (aka Jackdaw Stone)

I'm a late bloomer in the folk music world, having truly found my voice only a few years ago at the age of 50. Mick was at the Morris Ale Fest in Kirkby when I attended for the first time as the only Morris woman in 2016! During the shenanigans I somewhat nervously performed January Man, forgot some of the words but carried on regardless to a very warm reception. Mick came to me later that evening and complimented me on my singing, encouraging me to do more. I was touched and thrilled that Derbyshire's charming Mr Folk had enjoyed hearing me sing!

From that point onwards he would regularly ask my husband, his long-time friend Andy Martin, or me if we met, what I was doing to progress my singing. "Tell that lass of yours to get herself out there and sing!" I recall bumping into Mick in Sainsbury’s in Ripley one day. We wondered around the store together for a few minutes and he spoke with his usual passion about all the beautiful folk songs we need to keep alive. During this conversation he said how he'd love to hear me sing Who Knows Where the Time Goes by Sandy Denny. There was something about Mick's warm encouragement and deep love of the music that made me determined to learn that song and do it justice.

I've never looked back since and my love of singing continues to grow. Mick gave us the great honour of coming to introduce my first band's debut gig at The Nelson Arms in Middleton by Wirksworth in October 2019.

You're in my heart always dear Mick. This coming weekend I'm performing in my new collaboration with the brilliant John Adams at the Exile Music Festival. It would have been so incredibly wonderful to have you there in person. You'll be there with me in spirit though, as you often are when I sing.

Thank you dear Mick

I miss your warm presence and that gorgeous voice of yours and wish you blessings and many other great adventures on wherever your next journey takes you to.

With love, Deborah x

Deborah Short

It’s so hard to imagine a folk event, particularly around the Derbyshire area, that wasn’t either organised by Mick, attended by Mick or, at the very least, full of people who knew Mick. No one can fill the space he’s left but all of us have been touched by his humanity and his love of the music. If we feel lost without him, how must his family and close friends feel? Much love to all xx

Maggie Holdsworth
Mick Peat chatting
Photo © Graham Whitmore

Mick Peat - an essential part of many things; bands, festivals, sessions, recordings and cultural collaborations. A seeker of success not for himself but everyone he was associated with. A rare quality. Thoughts and condolences go to Celia and Mick's family. We will miss you Mick. RIP Nic, Ali and Sarah.

Nic Broomhead

This is very sad news. Our thoughts and deep sympathies are with dear Celia at this terribly difficult time. From my first youthful visits, Mick would always make me feel at home in Derbyshire. He was a giant figure on the folk scene encouraging many a beginner and old pro alike. I am gutted - he will be profoundly missed.

Graeme Taylor
Albion Band, Home Service, Gryphon

Some rare people really are irreplaceable. Deepest sympathies to Celia, family and friends. Mick made an enormous contribution to spreading an appreciation of traditional music and performance. Can't begin to work out how much he will be missed.

Georgina Boyes
Performer, Author of “The Imagined Village”
A vintage photo of Mick Peat at Radio Derby, holding a birthday cake
Photo © Graham Whitmore

So sad to hear this news. When I started performing in the folk scene Mick was someone who gave me great advice and encouragement. A true gentleman and such a loss to all who knew him. R.I.P

John Prentice
Folk Performer & Songwriter

Age 6 Wayfarers gig. Mick shook my hand: "E's got 'ands like digger buckets like his Dad". No folk group did ballads, reels, jigs, comedy, ceilidhs, originals so well. Mick's influence is unmeasurable. Condolences and love, Celia.

Jackdaw Stone
Mick Peat playing his ukulele on stage
Photo © Graham Whitmore

Mick was an old pal from the folk club days - The Ripley Wayfarers were a great group and Micks deep bass voice could rattle windows from Youlgreave to Belper. For years he worked to make the Derby Folk Festival a national success. My condolences go to Celia and the family.

Mike Harding
Comic, Folk Singer, Poet, Radio Presenter
Mick introducing a band from on stage with dramatic stage lights
Photo © Graham Whitmore

Very sorry to hear about Mick. Once met and heard, never forgotten. Mick was always nice, always lovely and he always remembered people who are involved, promote and follow the music that he was that giant in amongst it all. I do a folk and roots radio broadcast...a role where I could only sit at Micks feet!… Best to all concerned and condolences to Micks family and friends.

Jonti Willis

Feeling very sad at the news of Mick's passing. I must have known Mick since his days as a traditional builder and with Ripley Wayfarers. His support and encouragement for friends and performers, promotion of the music, folk festivals and memorable folk shows on Radio Derby plus charitable events all driven by an unmatched enthusiasm of a good man from Derbyshire. Even if people had never met Mick face to face, as soon as he spoke, you would know who he was. Blessed with a distinctive voice there was no mistaking him. He was a one off who was truly 'Made In Derbyshire'. Rest in peace Mick.

Alan Morley

Aw Mick, we will miss you terribly, but go with our love - heaven will have a new and wonderful deep bass voice singing in its choir tonight x

Janet Bostock
Heanor, Derbyshire
Mick chatting
Photo © Graham Whitmore

Mick we will miss your voice speaking, singing and calling dances. We will miss your music too. All of which we enjoyed very much in the time we were in Derbyshire in the East Midlands. We will also miss your voice on the radio, which we heard so often via satellite here in Germany. Best Wishes in this sad time to you all.

John & Susan Grimmette

I would like to say how sad I am about Micks passing. He will be missed by all. I hope when all this pandemic has gone we can celebrate his life. Mick used to call me ‘Co-op Pat’ because I reminded him of someone who worked in his local Co-op. And he persuaded me at one of the concerts at the Assembly Rooms, to buy a melodeon, which I still have and am still trying to play… Fun times. Great man.

Pat Thorpe
Ilkeston, Derbyshire

So sad to hear the news about Mick. The day I heard his Folkwaves programme was being taken off air, still annoys me - it was wonderful; it made Mondays bearable as we looked forward to hearing it in the evening. He and Lester opened up a whole world of music to us. I attended many concerts he organised, and heard about through Folkwaves. Happy days. What the Nottingham Festival Folk Stage will do without him, I dread to think. Lovely man - I will miss him.

Alex Fenton

I was very saddened to hear the news about Mick. He will be sorely missed. He was a huge part of my childhood, I remember mostly being kept awake with 'band practice' when I was little, which I loved! Sending my condolences to his family, may they take comfort from the full and meaningful life that he lived.

Ellen Train
Mick chatting
Photo © Graham Whitmore

Our condolences to Mick's family & friends

Alex Gallacher
Folk Radio UK

Sad news. We’re all getting old. Hope there will still be places left in that big folk band in the sky.

Bill Rowland
Mick with Sarah Matthews, receiving his gold badge
Photo © Derby Live

I wish to send my condolences to Celia and family for their sad loss. I have been involved in the local folk scene for many years and have many fond memories of Mick going back to the 60’s. He was involved in so many things as performer, broadcaster, promoter and organiser. He will be sorely missed. I was so pleased to see he was awarded the Gold Badge from the EFDSS, a tribute to his contribution to the folk scene both locally and nationally. Rest in peace Mick and thank you for all you did.

Sid Pritchett

Heartbreaking news. Mick was such a core part of the folk scene back home, but also very much part of the family you find by connection rather than blood, he's been there all my life. If I was to imagine the most salt-of-the-earth Derbyshire man possible, it'd just be him. He will be missed.

Katy Coope

There never was ‘owt but good about Mick.

Paul Hopkinson
Musician, Recording Producer & Engineer, Foundry Studios, Chesterfield

I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Mick Peat. Please accept my deepest condolences. I always found him to most warm and helpful when trying to get gig tickets. He was most approachable. Going the extra mile to facilitate access to gigs

Les Sloan
Mick Peat and Bob Rushton waving happily from the stage of a packed tent at Derby Folk Festival
Photo © Graham Whitmore

The Mick Peat Drystone Bursary

Mick was passionate about many things during his marvellous 80 year life and was President of recently founded Drystone Arts a not-for-profit enterprise, building community and the arts throughout Derbyshire. "The Mick Peat Drystone Bursary" has been established to raise funds to encourage and facilitate creativity in all its forms and bring people together.

Mick's children Garry & Maxine, said Dad would be "chuffed to bits" that his legacy continues to support this fantastic cause.

To contribute to the bursury, please visit the JustGiving page.