Witty piano teacher and performer dies at 60
PIANO teacher and performer Raymond Banning has died following a debilitating neurodegenerative illness, at the age of 60.
Mr Banning was a popular teacher and performer in Thanet before moving to Cambridgeshire in the mid-90s.
Born and bred in Ramsgate, Mr Banning had a love of music and showbiz from an early age.
A great raconteur, with a witty sense of humour, he often relished retelling the stories of his family's stage career dating back to the 19th century.
A pupil at Newington school, he was greatly influenced by his first music teacher.
After attending Chatham House school, Mr Banning studied pianoforte at the Royal College of Music, where he also continued his other great love, football.
After completing his studies he became head of music at Hartsdown School and alongside his great friend Matthew Alexander, was instrumental in staging the school musicals each year.
In the 1980s he was asked to be conductor of Thanet's first professional orchestra, and oversaw performances with well-known artists such as John Ogden and Moura Lympany.
Later he went on to teach alongside his great friend, concert pianist John Bingham, at Trinity College of Music.
Mr Banning also played in London at the Wigmore Hall, and with the actors Stephanie Cole and Edward Fox in performances of words and music.
A committed socialist, Mr Banning loved the satire of Private Eye, and latterly the Oldie, with whom he ran annual master classes and forged strong friendships with editors Richard Ingrams and Ian Hislop.
He always supported the underdog, and it was no surprise that he chose to raise funds in aid of mental illness rather than some of the more popular charities.
Mr Banning is missed by his parents Edna and Bill, sister Shirley, his stepdaughters, extended family and his many friends.