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Musician and war hero dies aged 92
5:00pm Monday 18th February 2013 in News
POPULAR: Maxwell Nicholls, was a well-known personality. The war hero ran his own business and fronted a popular band.
A COLOURFUL dance band leader has died.
Maxwell Edward “Max” Nicholls, fronted one of the area’s most popular dance bands in the 60s.
Mr Edwards, who has died aged 92, fronted Maxwell and his Orchestra who were resident at the Winter Gardens for many years.
For years he lived with his first wife Joan at Virginia House, Powick – the pair were founder members of the Citizens’ Swimming Pool at Lower Wick – and later with his second wife, also Joan, in Orchard Road, Malvern.
Although born in Cornwall, Mr Nicholls grew up in Worcester, after his father joined the staff of King’s School. He was educated at King’s and was also a member of Worcester Cathedral choir.
During the Second World War he served with the Royal Marines as a bandsman and featured in a rescue when his ship HMS Hermione was torpedoed.
With the ship sinking, Mr Nicholls heard a voice shouting for help.
Reaching out he managed to haul the man to safety as the ship went down.
Years later, Mr Nicholls’ war diaries were published by the Hermione Association and the officer whose life he saved got in touch.
Following the war, Mr Nicholls and his first wife ran a successful cardboard box company with its headquarters in Diglis, Worcester, while at the same time he fronted the band. His played drums and vibraphone.
Mr Nicholls became a member of Round Table and Rotary and was also a member of a masonic lodge. He was a keen sailor and member of Avon Sailing Club at Chaceley, near Tewkesbury and together with his second wife spent holidays sailing their ocean-going yacht Joie de Vivre.
In recent years Mr Nicholls lived at the Old Vicarage residential care home in Tibberton Road, Malvern, but after becoming ill was admitted to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where he died.
He leaves a wife, five children, nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, three stepchildren and eight step-grandchildren.
His funeral service will be at Great Malvern Priory on Friday, February 22, at 11am with a private burial after.