HE has played at hundreds of events across Test Valley in the past six decades, but now he has taken a step back from the music scene.

Michelmersh Silver Band’s baritone horn player Derek Topp has retired after a music career spanning 62 years.

The 72-year-old from Michelmersh began playing cornet for the band – co-founded by his grandfather Thomas Topp back in 1886 – in 1956.

Under the tutelage of bandmaster Wilf Parsons, Derek changed to play tenor horn and then euphonium before leaving Michelmersh in the late 1980s to try pastures new.

He moved to play for the-then Championship Section Downton Band, before moving on again to New Forest Brass in Marchwood.

But in the early 2000s he returned to his roots, rejoining Michelmersh Silver Band, this time playing the baritone.

“It was a sort of a family band to start with. There was a lot of enjoyment doing concerts but I think the most important thing is music, the enjoyment you get from music and the people you meet,” the father-of-six said.

Derek, who teaches woodwork at Eastleigh College, announced his retirement from the band at the annual Michelmersh Band dinner held earlier this month.

Although he will no longer play with the band, he said he will continue in his role of music librarian and band supporter.

Presenting Derek with an engraved crystal tankard, Adam Smith, chairman of Michelmersh Band, highlighted his talent and his commitment to the brass band movement. Mr Adams added: “Derek has been central to the social and playing sides of the band for so long, we will really miss his unwavering enthusiasm, good humour, and smiles in the band room. We’re very happy that he will still be keeping us in check from the wings as librarian.”