Carey Blyton, renowned composer and nephew of Enid Blyton, has died of cancer at the age of 70. He was best known for penning popular children’s ditty Bananas in Pyjamas, which was turned into a cult children’s TV programme in Australia. But he was also a serious musician and, after a career in music publishing, he began to record his own orchestral, instrumental and vocal work, including music for three episodes of Doctor Who. An accomplished writer, he had just published a new book of stories, including Summer in the Country, to mark his 70th birthday. The stories are based on his own experiences of being evacuated from his home in The Drive, Beckenham, to Somerset during World War II.
Carey was born in Beckenham in 1932 and attended the Beckenham and Penge Grammar School. He lived in Beckenham for 30 years before relocating to Swanley, where he lived for another 30 years with his wife Mary and two sons, Matthew and Daniel. Son Daniel paid tribute to his “wonderful father” whose sense of humour shone through in his music, as well as in his short stories and poetry.
Beckenham historian Cliff Watkins, who is writing a book on The Blytons of Beckenham, said the news was “a great shock.” “Beckenham meant a tremendous amount to him,” said Cliff. One of Carey’s most treasured memories as a sixth-former at the grammar school was dressing up as anarchist Caesar Bombski for a mock election parade along Penge High Street—complete with a bomb, made from a ballcock taken from the school loo!
Carey had planned to celebrate his 70th birthday with a special exhibition in Beckenham Library, but had been unable to attend because of poor health. He died in Woodbridge, Suffolk, last Saturday. A funeral service is to be held at St Mary’s Parish Church, Woodbridge, next Wednesday at 11am.