A 76-year-old DJ who has played tunes for his whole village every Thursday night after the NHS clap has said he was shocked to get a letter from the council telling him he had to stop because one of his neighbours had complained.
Tommy Coombes, who has lived in Bletchingdon for 70 years, said he only started playing music at his front door because his neighbours had asked him to, and had only ever received one complaint in person.
The father-of-one, who works as a porter at Exeter College in Oxford, already does a bit of DJing around the village anyway, so on a Thursday nights he puts his CD player speakers in front of his house.
He explained: “At eight o’clock I get everyone’s attention and say ‘three minutes of clapping’, then we’ll have three cheers for the NHS, then I’ll play a few tunes until nine o’clock.”
Mr Coombes plays a mixture of music from across the decades including Elvis Presley and Jim Reeves, and he even played Happy Birthday for a resident one night, but he always finishes with Vera Lynn’s wartime classic We’ll Meet Again.
He said: “The whole village joins in with it – people are dancing in the streets.”
However on Tuesday this week he got a letter from Cherwell District Council.
The letter said: “I write to advise you that a complaint has been received about noise nuisance from your address due to music being played at excessive levels on Thursday evenings.”
The officer stressed that no investigation had actually been carried out, but he said that if the council received any more complaints it would investigate, and ‘should a nuisance be found to be occurring’ then the council could serve an ‘abatement notice’, a fine or even pursue a prosecution.
However, he finished: “I hope that this letter will resolve matters.”
Mr Coombes, who was born in West Oxfordshire in 1944, said: “I couldn’t believe it – there are 1,200 people and 1,100 of them support me.”
He said that he had had one complaint in person, when a mum who lives nearby came to ask him to stop because she was trying to put her children to bed, and he stopped for the night.
He also said he could sympathise with people who didn’t appreciate the loud noise, but said he’d never had any other complaints.
After Mr Coombes’ daughter Sara, who lives in Oxford, put the news on Facebook, he was inundated with messages of support, including online and even cards through his door.
Sam Harris said: “The residents of Bletchingdon love this music and look forward to it.”
Annemarie Plas, the woman who started the NHS clap, said this week she wanted tonight’s to be the last because she feared it was becoming politicised.
As a result, Mr Coombes said he was planning tonight’s show to be his last as well, but after the letter he said he did not want to risk being fined.
However he said that if the council agreed to let him perform one last time, he would give it all he’d got.