Plaque unveiled to father of Crawley’s music scene

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Crawley Arts Council has unveiled a blue plaque honouring the man known as the father of the town’s music scene.

The plaque, at Northgate Community Centre, was dedicated to Jim Pitts, a member of cult blues band Brett Marvin and the Thunderbolts.

It was the 18th in the series acknowledging Crawley’s rich heritage and celebrating notable residents.

Jim, who died shortly after his 70th birthday in 2012, ran two Community Arts workshops including the 12 Bar Workshop which still meets at the community centre, in Barnfield Road.

Over the years, his work and dedication as he encouraged his pupils to take advantage of the many open music sessions around the town, led to the music scene in Crawley growing enormously.

He organised masterclasses at The Hawth with professional musicians; many of whom volunteered to spend an evening at the 12 Bar Workshops demonstrating their skills and playing along with everyone.

Jim’s other achievements included a mural which the council asked him to paint at the community centre, which still adorns one wall.

He also designed a sculpture made from recycled materials called The Bag Lad, which stood at the entrance to The Hawth for some time.

More than 100 people attended the grand unveiling of the plaque, which was organised by The Friends of Jim Pitts and was followed by performances from local blues musicians – a fitting tribute to Jim.

To find out more about Community Arts workshops, visit www.crawley.gov.uk/artsdevelopment.