When a former Orpheus student passes away, it is of course a sad occasion. With this in mind we want to commemorate the lives of Jeremy Briers as well as that of his father, Peter Briers, both of whom passed away in 2019. This is their story.


Jeremy Briers was a fun, talented man with a beautiful smile. Of that there is no doubt. He was a kind helpful person with a loveable soul and heart, and made a positive impression on everyone he met.

His father Peter supported him every step of the way. He was a man devoted to his family and his love and dedication to Jeremy was constant and without question.

With the ongoing and dedicated support of his family, Jeremy never let his disability stop him from doing what he enjoyed. Limited speech and movement didn’t get in the way of his love for music!

Jeremy was a student at Orpheus long before it was a charity, when it was still relatively new. He attended our early song weeks, creating beautiful music with our founder, Richard Stilgoe, memories that stayed with his family ever since.

The ‘Jeremy Briers March’ was a highlight of Jeremy’s time here, using the letters of his name to produce a wonderful and happy piece.

He embraced technology and ‘Bongo Madness’ was a creative piece of music written and performed using a sound beam which linked to a keyboard and created music just using the movement of Jeremy’s head.

Richard says "The Jeremy Briers March, composed by him and me one afternoon, is not the most distinguished piece of music ever written;   but nothing could beat Jeremy’s delighted reaction to its first performance, sung at full volume by everyone else on our music week.   Making music can bring a joy that nothing else can provide, and a broad smile to mouths that find other forms of expression a challenge.  Jeremy was great fun to work with, and I am so grateful to his family for making a gift to Orpheus in his memory so that others may have the same experience".

It is this creative, out of the box thinking of the Orpheus staff that still exists today. Only now we have even more students and a wide range of existing opportunities to learn and perform.

When Jeremy and his father Peter passed away in 2019 the family thought of the Orpheus Centre again. Very generously, they asked for in memory donations to be given to Orpheus, to help the current students in the way that he was helped all those years ago.

When the Briers came in to present the cheque of over £3,000 to Richard, he was happy to learn that the Jeremy Briers March was admired by everyone at the father and son's funeral. And he kindly performed it for the family again. You can watch Richard's impromptu performance here.   

With this very generous gift we were able to purchase a portable PA system. This has proved invaluable when taking students out to events where they can perform as well as to outreach weeks where students work with groups writing songs or poetry as locations such as schools and even prisons.

It has also paid for photography equipment for both staff and students. This means we can document and promote the centre and our events, without relying on external photographers.

We hope to offer a course at Level 1 in Digital Photography to our students. On this course the students will learn how to take photographs, how to edit, transfer and organise digital photos. They will also learn about the different vocational paths they may be able to take with photography and how they would be expected to perform and behave in these various roles.

Art Tutor Helen says, “We’re so excited to have this new equipment. Our students will be visiting Brighton in February as part of our intensive week programme to take photographs and are really looking forward to the opportunities to use this wonderful new equipment. We really are so grateful to the family and friends of Jeremy and Peter for thinking of Orpheus in this way”.

Through their death, they have made such a difference to the lives of our current and future students, and we hope that this is of comfort to their family and friends. 

Jeremy Charles Julian Briers 1964 – 2019

Peter Charles Briers 1930 – 2019


If you would like to support the Orpheus in memory of someone you love then please contact us

Find out more about donating in memory and funeral collections here.

Written using tributes to Jeremy and Peter by their friends and family.