`

Ben Daglish, retro video game composer from Derbyshire, dies aged 52

Ben Daglish performing with the Loscoe State Opera at the 2007 Stainsby Festival.
Ben Daglish performing with the Loscoe State Opera at the 2007 Stainsby Festival.

Tributes have been paid to an influential Derbyshire composer and musician who has died aged 52.

Ben Daglish, who lived in Matlock, passed away on Monday after a battle with lung cancer.

During the 1980s, Mr Daglish composed the music for a number of video games, including Cobra, Trap, Deflektor and The Last Ninja, on all three major eight-bit computers of the time - the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC.

Mr Daglish's wife Sarah wrote on Facebook: "We know that it will come as a shock to many of you as it has to us.

"We are all at home feeling loved and supported, and our thoughts are with all of you who knew, loved, got irritated by and were lucky enough to have a little bit of his magic in your lives."

Hundreds of tributes have been paid to Mr Daglish on social media.

Giorgio Cavicchi said: "A little bit of my youth died with him. So sad."

Barna Buza said: "His music defined my childhood. He will be missed."

Liam Fretwell said: "This is unbelievable news. So sad to hear and certainly one of my biggest inspirations in chip music."

Patrick Söder said: "The world has lost a brilliant mind. The music created by Mr Daglish has been and will continue to be a daily part of my life. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends."

Ivan Bersanetti said: "I can't believe this, it's a tragedy. RIP maestro."

Video game designer and programmer Jeff Minter, who founded software company Llamasoft, said Mr Daglish had an 'amazing talent' and was an 'absolutely lovely bloke'.

Colleague and friend Chris Abbott said: "The world needs more like Ben, not less."

Mr Daglish, who was born in London before he moved to Derbyshire, also played in a number of UK bands - including Loscoe State Opera - and attended retro computer game events.

Andy Martin - who performed with Mr Daglish in folk band Loscoe State Opera - said: “I met Ben 24 years ago, when I was running a music session in a pub in Matlock Bath.

“The session progressed as a traditional Celtic music session tends to, when in bounced this scruffy looking long haired guy with his jacket buttoned up wrong (as in when you have been in a rush and your top button has connected with the second button hole and you follow through all the way down!)

”He was carrying a small box and from this box he produced a flute.

“We were in the middle of an Irish tune set when Ben seemed to make a bee line in my direction and began to play around the tune, a la Jazz mode, some of it directly in my face!

“After about half an hour he left as suddenly as he had come in.

“Some folk musicians do not take kindly to any pushing of the frontiers of traditional folk and there were some that evening who politely implied that they were not too happy.

“Sadly they viewed this guy blasting weird jazz stuff as an irritant who they would be happy not to see again.

“My response was very different - I felt as though I had been hit by a whirlwind, having just witnessed what can be best described as a kind of real live musical will-o’-the-wisp, or a hugely talented Shakespeare's Puck with a Flute.

“I was left literally spellbound by this first encounter.”

He added: “Ben had a wonderful way of weaving around my tunes, drawing together the individual talents of all the band members into an inspirational whole.

“This, combined with a drummer friend and fellow band member Dave Everitt, initiated the Loscoe State Opera folk rock band, enjoying 20 years or more of sheer musical joy and tonnes of magical memories.

“He will be sorely missed.”