music — and jazz in particular — has lost one of its most potent forces with the death of Charles Hooper, drummer, bandleader, and vociferous campaigner for the survival of “live” music.

Charles, who was aged 69, had been ill for several months but his condition deteriorated following the New Year, and he died on Monday, January 9.

Known universally as “Chas” to his numerous colleagues and friends, he played what was to become his final gig at Horwich RMI with his quintet, the Chas Hooper Swing Band, which features pianist Tom Steer, trumpet and flugel horn player Ian Royle, Jimmy Thomson (tenor sax) and Brian Day (bass).

Chas was born in Dorset but moved around the country during his childhood as his father was in the British Army. Drums were to become a major part of his life from his early teens, and, during a brief spell in London, Chas played at a club owned by the Kray twins.

When he arrived in the North West, Chas quickly became a pivotal part of the local music scene, particularly in Bolton and Manchester clubland.

He was a member of the resident groups at the Empress Club in Bolton, as part of the Geoff Moore Trio, and Mr Smith’s in Manchester city centre.

Chas got to work with some of the biggest names in international cabaret.

In recent years Chas ran his own drum emporium in Belthorn village, between Edgworth and Blackburn, but still found time to gig around the North West with his own group, and those of other bandleaders, who called upon his services.

The group which carries his name is included in the Horwich RMI programme for 2012, which starts on February 17, and the organisers have no intention of replacing it.

Ian Royle will take over as bandleader and Blackpool-based jazz drummer Jimmy Scaife will step in for Chas.

His funeral will take place tomorrow at Pleasington Cemetery, Witton Park, Blackburn, at 9am.