Saturday, 13 August 2016

Peter Frederick “Fred” Wedlock was born in the old Bristol Maternity Hospital in Southwell Street, Kingsdown, Bristol, on 23 May 1942. He was brought up in Redcliffe, where his father ran the York House pub. He sang in the church choir at St Mary Redcliffe. Wedlock was educated at Bristol Grammar School in the 1950s. He represented the school and the Old Bristolians playing hockey.
After attending Swansea University, he taught in the East End of London during the 1960s and then at South Bristol College, before taking up music full-time in the 1970s. Wedlock was a regular performer at the Bristol Troubadour Club and he played the folk circuit, both prior to, and in the wake of, his single chart success, with performances at clubs and festivals all over the world. He also presented many programmes on West Country TV. including a leading role in Bristol Old Vic's production of Up the Feeder, Down the Mouth, a theatrical history of Bristol Docks, written by A. C. H. Smith. In 2001 the production was restaged on the waterfront. He also appeared in several productions for Bristol theatre company, The Ministry of Entertainment, most recently in December 2009.
Wedlock's albums include The Folker (1971) (notable for the title track parody of "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel), Frolicks (1973), Out of Wedlock (1978), The Oldest Swinger in Town (1981) and Fred Wedlock Live (1982). In early 1981 his single "Oldest Swinger in Town" – here for download – reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart, #13 in Zimbabwe, #30 in New Zealand and #70 in Australia (Rocket 6000 632).
His daughter, Hannah Wedlock, was an occasional member of the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, another Bristol-based outfit, whom Fred made his support band at an early stage of their career. She now performs with the Blue Note Jazz Band. His grandfather, Billy Wedlock, captained Bristol City F.C. and was a regular for England in the early 20th century. The Wedlock stand at Ashton Gate is named in his honour. He lived at Amesbury near Timsbury, Somerset where for many years he contributed to village life by providing entertainment and helping with raising funds for local projects.
On a sad note, it was announced on 4 March 2010 that Fred Wedlock had died, in hospital in Bath, Somerset, following a heart attack, after having contracted pneumonia. Dick Greener of Strawbs Web, the website of folk rock band The Strawbs, said that he was "A huge comic talent, and an all round thoroughly nice guy, I know... those who have seen Fred in the past during his long and successful career, would want to pass on their condolences to Fred's family." Derek Cleverdon, chairman of the Variety Club Children's Charity South West, said Fred was also devoted to charitable causes. "He performed on numerous occasions for the Variety Club, and raised thousands of pounds for us over the years."
A large number of people attended a funeral service held at St Mary Redcliffe church on 15 March 2010. Family and friends paid homage with tributes and songs. A local press report said that "he filled Bristol's largest church to capacity." mp3
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