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theo obit

   Theo Wyatt
   1920 - 2017.

It was with great sadness that we learned today of the death of Theo Wyatt, the founder of Merton Music - only one of his contributions to the art that was at the centre of his life.

Theo was one of the most unforgettable and lovable people I ever met. He was born, his memoirs tell us, in Nurse Bucket's Nursing Home in Foundry Lane, Shirley, Southampton, a detail he would have enjoyed, with his irrepressible sense of humour. His childhood, as the son of a rural postman, was one of poverty. He always regretted that a university education had been beyond his reach, and to the end he identified with the have-nots of the world.

When he founded Merton Music, scanning the large library of an amateur viola player, he priced it at 10p per page, a price, he used to say, calculated to positively encourage exploration. He worked fast and tirelessly, and the Merton works now incorporated into Ourtext number well over a thousand. Theo was the absolute pioneer in the republication of forgotten chamber music, and I think it no exaggeration to say he was the IMSLP of the pre-Internet age.

The other love of Theo's life was his wife Kitty - Tiggy, to him - who was with him in his last days following a fall in May.

Theo had more than his fair share of the life force, and boundless enthusiasm. His tastes and his style of life were simple.

The world has lost a very large soul.

John Harding
6th July, 2017