A HARD act to follow” is just one of the ways former Troggs frontman and “Mr Andover” Reg Presley is described.
Tributes have flooded in since the news of Reg’s death hit Andover and the rest of the world this week.
Busty Taylor, who shared the singer’s passion for researching crop circles, became friends with Reg in 1990 after they recognised each other from their time at the former Winton School, in Andover, where the singer was a year above Busty.
Before finding fame with the Troggs, Reg also worked with Busty’s brother-in-law learning the bricklaying trade in Abbotts Ann.
Busty, of Andover, said: “We used to go out more and more and do crop watches and UFO watches until late in the evening in the Alton Barnes area.
“He was a genuine guy, he just came out and talked to people naturally.
“He was the most down to earth, genuine person you could ever come across.
“We kept in touch ever since, I used to go up and see him on a regular basis and we used to telephone each other.
“He is going to be missed as he was one of those guys you could approach, talk to and he would listen to you. He is going to be a hard act to follow.”
Reg was Colin Andrews’ best man, and his friend has set up a tribute page dedicated to him at colinandrews.net/Reg-Presley_AGetWel FromlColin-Andrews.html.
Colin, who now lives in the USA, said: “We have had many laughs, many fond memories and I will miss him. I received a telephone call from Karen, his daughter, at around 2.15pm, telling me Reg had passed around midday with Bren [Reg’s wife], Jason [Reg’s son] and herself at his side, at his home near Andover.
“Just three days ago, our mutual friend Busty Taylor arranged a Skype link between Reg and myself here in Connecticut, for which I will forever cherish and be grateful to Busty and the family for arranging.
“I knew Reg was very ill and have deliberately reduced my regular telephone calls out of respect for what I knew his wonderful friend and wife Bren was experiencing.
“In that treasured live contact I was able to say my last hello and last goodbye to my dear friend and my best man.
“What was clear to everyone who knew Reg was that his family was the centre of his life. Every third word was ‘Bren’, who he loved so much.
“Karen used to join us on many of our sky watches, while Jason was always the careful, thoughtful presence when the paranormal subjects arose, which were often.
"Reg was justly proud of his wonderful family.
“Reg was a good friend to me who flew, with Bren, to the USA to attend Synthia’s and my wedding, as my best man. He came again, even though he hated flying, to support me when I made a presentation at the United Nations special interest group in New York.
“Synthia and I, along with friends here, had the great pleasure of attending a live Troggs gig at one of the large casinos in Connecticut.
“It was Reg and the group at their best. We have said many times since that it was amazing how Reg still put so much into his performances.”
He added: “Reg has touched millions and I so enjoyed and respected the fact that he never let the fame change him and who he was.
“His music and rusty quality voice will continue to circulate the universe as all energy does, forever.
“Love is all around is no bad message to leave us – our job now is to ensure it is.
“Thank you for the wonderful friendship, generosity, a wonderful family and those fun times on Hampshire’s hilltops and the Indian restaurant.”
Reg, who was regularly spotted around the town, would dine at Cricketers Inn, in Longparish, about once a week after the restaurant became a favourite of his seven years ago.
According to landlady Elaine Mancini, the Andoverian’s favourite dish was mussels, scallops and king prawns.
Elaine told the Advertiser: “He was the most adorable, charismatic man that you could probably meet, one of life’s characters that are too few and too far between. He was a genuine, wonderful man. There was no pretence about Reg.
“We had the pleasure of him and his wonderful wife dining at our restaurant and becoming friends.
“We enjoyed seeing him every time, I am just very grateful that he chose us to dine with.”
Phil Connor said: “The last time I spoke to Reg was many years ago when I was at my friend David Heath’s house, just outside Andover.
"Ironically the house was previously owned by Reg himself.
"Now I live many miles away, in Detroit, Michigan, but I received the news of his passing.
“It’s mute testimony to how far-reaching his music was and how many friends and fans he had.”
Many comments have been sent to the Advertiser from those who grew up with Reg’s music, which included hits such as Wild Thing and Love Is All Around.
Jenny Upton, of Ferndale Road, Andover, remembers the local celebrity fondly.
She said: “The music of the Troggs brought great joy to us local teenage girls in the 60s. My best friend Cherry Holder and I (Jenny Lawrence then) went to all the Troggs gigs held upstairs in the banqueting hall of the old Copper Kettle, which happened two or three times a week, plus any gigs that we could get lifts to out in the villages. We absolutely loved them.
“I still have a copy of the Advertiser from 1966 when they reached No 1 in the charts. Now, when hearing a Troggs record, it always brings back wonderful memories of the fantastic times we had in the Swinging Sixties.”
Jenny and Alan Mussell, of Picket Piece, said: “We were devastated to hear that dear Reg had passed away, we have tears in our eyes but love in our heart for Reg, not only in support of his performance with the Troggs, but locally here in Andover. Our deepest condolences to Brenda and her family, Chris, Pete and Dave the Troggs.”
Andover Advertiser reader Jenny Balchin said: “A lovely man, you will be sadly missed, I grew up with your music. RIP now Reg, no more pain, God bless. Thoughts and love go to your family.”
See all the pictures in today's paper.