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A musician with a handle on life

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Dressed to thrill – multi-talented  musician Werner Meier as a Lippischer Schütze – a circa 1815 German soldier – and his street barrel organ Solo performer and Anglophile Werner Meier is finding that life’s a grind at age 69. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

That’s because the jolly Herford-based street organ player has enjoyed entertaining folks around the world since the 1970s.

And now Werner hopes to entertain the British Forces at special events where he can dress as a clown or even in period costume. 

 “I hope people will hire me for special occasions like weddings when I can play my barrel organ,” said Werner, who once dated the daughter of an Army officer.

The eccentric Herford native used to own a string of British cars, including Rolls Royces, Bentleys and Jaguars.

Werner, who calls himself the Musik Baron, said: “I like the nostalgia, comfort and style of post-war British cars. When I was 20, in 1965, I stayed in a castle in England and it was like being in an Edgar Wallace film. And I just fell in love with British cars.

“I’ve had at least a half-dozen over the years since the 1960s and I’ve always had contact with the Brits in Herford.” 

The 69-year-old ran a successful piano shop and once sold wicker beach chairs for a living. But for many years he has been in great demand as a pianist, accordion player and barrel organ grinder on Mediterranean cruises. Werner clowning around with his street organ on a bike

The musician used to perform his one-man show regularly in Berlin, the USA, Holland and Spain and on cruise ships but has recently cut back on the travelling.

“I love cruises with more than 1,000 passengers on board, because there’s someone’s birthday almost every day and I can grind out Happy Birthday on the barrel organ,” he said.

“I used to advertise my one-man entertainer services in expat newspapers in Florida and Spain and found work that way. It was a good way to see the world.

“Now I offer my services to the ocean liner firms directly. This autumn I hope to be performing on the Allure of the Sea, which is one of the biggest ships in the world and where every deck is packed with entertainment.”

If he gets the month-long gig, Werner can expect free meals and a cabin, plus a daily rate for playing as a lobby pianist.

“I play the barrel organ only for a short while, because you can only listen to it for so long. Women and children really love the music.”

One of his proudest moments was playing a piano once regularly used by Cole Porter at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.

the Herford resident in holiday cruise attire during one of his solo entertainer shows“I was 34 at the time and it was an honour to play the same piano,” said the German, who is self-taught and also plays the bagpipes and saxophone.

Werner, added: “For my street organ playing I have a selection of historical costumes and a clown outfit to choose from, depending on the event.

“It’s a lot of work to get dressed up but it goes down well with folks. I got the idea after working as a film extra. I’ll do any event, even funerals.

“I get my eccentricity from my mum. She was quite different from other mums – very outgoing and adventurous.”

To hire Werner for special events, visit: www.musik-baron.de, call 01721725066 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

A bed of support

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Combining forces – From left: Technican Sven Moeller; Frau Christiane Rampsel-Horstmann, head of the purchasing department at the Klinikum Gütersloh; Cpl Derrick Cobbinah, co-founder Forces Help Ghana; and Volker Lehmann, a GGS watchman who has helped British-German relations and approached the hospital for donationsA Ghanaian veterans' charity started by two Gütersloh-based soldiers has received a boost to its mission thanks to the donation of 15 beds from a local hospital.

The Klinikum Gütersloh presented the mechanical beds and 25 mattresses to Forces Help Ghana (FHG) co-founder Cpl Derrick Cobbinah last Wednesday, August 20.

One of the charity's projects is to refurbish the clinics in 10 veterans' villages – or care homes – in Ghana where armed forces veterans are treated.

The used beds will be shipped to Ghana next month, where they will be presented to the Veterans Administration Ghana (VAG), the equivalent of the Royal British Legion.

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Major leaves his mark

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Legacy - ony Clunn MBE with a Roman coin he found at Kalkriese. Inset: A Cavalry mask also found at Kalkriese – its image was used on the front cover of his book, In Quest of the Lost LegionsTributes have been paid to Tony Clunn, the former British Army major credited with discovering the Varus battlefield at Kalkriese in northern Germany, who has died at the age of 68.

Tony was an amateur archaeologist and metal detectorist when he unearthed a handful of Roman coins in 1987 some 20km north of Osnabrück, turning
German national history on its head.

At the time serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a lieutenant, he also uncovered three Roman slingshots near Kalkriese – the first indisputable evidence of military activity in the region.

Since then thousands of priceless artifacts have been found at the site where Varus’s legions were lost, which now boasts a state-of-the-art museum run by German National Heritage.

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A walk on the wild side

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Cyclists taking their journey of discovery through the 12,000-hectare siteFor the first time, the British Army invited local people to visit the Senne Training Area – and more than 5,000 hikers and bikers took advantage of the offer.

Where there’s normally live-firing in a place closed to the public, on Sunday, August 10, there was an air of tranquility.

The Senne Information Day saw people of all ages take the opportunity to visit after the entire 12,000-hectare area had been thoroughly searched beforehand for ammunition and duds.

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