Tributes to ‘inspirational’ Leeds teacher and music promoter

Sadly missed: Dave Hatfield
Sadly missed: Dave Hatfield
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Tributes have been paid to an inspirational special needs teacher and music promoter in Leeds whose love of music “brought joy to hundreds of children and the wider public”.

Dave Hatfield, of Chapel Allerton, who taught in schools across the city, died last week of cancer at the age of 66.

He came to Leeds in 1973 from London, where his passion for music was cemented by visits to legendary jazz bar Ronnie Scotts and the 100 Club, where he saw the likes of the Rolling Stones - before they charted - and Howling Wolf.

Moving to Armley, he trained in special needs teaching at Leeds Polytechnic, now Leeds Beckett, and went on to work at Broomfield School, Meanwood Park Hospital and West Oaks School in Boston Spa. Fellow teacher and friend Bill Chatwin said: “Dave was immensely kind, perceptive, broad-minded and laidback.

“He respected the unusual, was instinctively on the side of the underdog and disliked bureaucracy. Special needs teaching played to his strengths.”

Dave started the Open Music project, bringing live music into schools across the city and took young adults with learning difficulties on holidays for walks, pottery, poetry and the pub.

A leading light of Leeds Jazz, he helped bring some of the world’s finest talent to the city - including Ornette Coleman, Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Memphis Slim and Art Blakey.

When Leeds Jazz folded in 2009, Dave started jazz/improvisers club Fusebox at the Fox and Newt, which holds monthly gigs.

He was also involved in Leeds Film Festival in the early days, advising on programming.

Dave took early retirement in 2002 to immerse himself in his passions.

Friend Dave Gadd said: “We had a Tuesday club, meeting most weekds for three decades to listen to music, drink beer, play pool and watch films. In the whole time we never heard the same piece of music more than once.”

Dave leaves partner of 32 years, Jenny Page. His funeral - which will have a heavy musical influence - will take place on Thursday at Rawdon Crematorium at 3pm.