TO PARAPHRASE the hit Eighties’ film Field Of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

That certainly applies to the life of David Bowerman, who died on June 25 aged 84 after several years of illness.

David had been a farmer for 40 years when he retired from the family farm in Littlehampton in 1997.

On retirement day he switched from breeding Hereford cattle and growing Brussels sprouts to concentrating on his other great love: classical music.

David and his wife Mary set about building a state-of-the-art concert hall on their estate in Champs Hill near Pulborough, only a few steps from their front door.

Built on a patch of woodland devastated by the Great Storm of 1987, the polished-wood hall opened in 1999 as the Music Room.

On David’s insistence the intimate venue did not charge entry fees for its 160 concertgoers, instead asking for voluntary donations.

The Argus: Champs Hill doubles as a concert hall and sculpture parkChamps Hill doubles as a concert hall and sculpture park

Sussex-based classical singer Dame Felicity Lott performed on the opening night in 1999.

Fittingly, her voice had been used to test the hall’s soundscape.

“As for acoustics, we got Dame Felicity to come and give us her top C, and that seemed to work pretty well,” David had told the Telegraph.

The singer told The Argus of the Bowermans’ generous spirits.

“I met David at Glyndebourne so long ago,” Dame Felicity said.

“I did a concert at Boxgrove in that lovely church and he invited me back to have supper.

“We became quite friendly and he asked me if I would like to perform at the Music Room.

“It was absolutely beautiful.

“He was so generous and always shared what he had.”

The Argus: Dame Felicity Lott paid tribute to DavidDame Felicity Lott paid tribute to David

A supporter of music for all, David had founded the Bowerman Charitable Trust in 1984 to promote classical music and art by supporting young artists.

In 2010 he founded not-for-profit Champs Hill Records, using the Music Room as a recording studio.

Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, who often worked with David, called him “one of life’s givers”.

“He gave freely of his time, his money and his premises where he created a fantastic concert room and art gallery in his garden,” he said.

“He was a fantastic supporter of young musicians at the start of their careers and his generosity will live for ever through the many recordings he sponsored on his own Champs Hill label.”

But these were far from his only contributions to music.

The Argus: Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber also paid tribute to David. Photo: John MillarCellist Julian Lloyd Webber also paid tribute to David. Photo: John Millar

David’s CV reads like who’s who of classical prestige: 12 years on the board of the English Chamber Orchestra, seven years as a council member of the Royal College of Organists and five years as a member of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s board.

Also behind the Arundel Festival and concerts at Boxgrove Priory Church near Chichester, he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music by Prince Charles in 2005.

A year before he had been made a Commander of the British Empire for services to West Sussex.

He never forgot his roots, however, playing the organ at St Margaret’s Church in Angmering every Sunday.

David was born in 1936 to Littlehampton farmers Alfred and Margaret Bowerman and his childhood was rocked by the wartime bombing of nearby Ford Aerodrome.

He was sent to boarding school in Bath after the war’s end.

He excelled at sport and music, representing Sussex at rugby, cricket, and hockey in the Fifties.

The Argus: David also organised concerts at Boxgrove Priory Church near Chichester. Photo: Michael CoppinsDavid also organised concerts at Boxgrove Priory Church near Chichester. Photo: Michael Coppins

But after graduating in science at Reading University, he moved back to the family farm Court Wick Park in 1957, where he spent his next 40 years working.

Three years later his parents retired and moved to Champs Hill, leaving their son to take over the farm.

The next year he married Mary Capper. When they moved to Champs Hill in 1986, the storm of the next year allowed them to create a new garden.

Interested in justice, David was a magistrate in Arundel for 26 years and held various roles at Ford Prison.

He also ran the Sussex Association for the Rehabilitation of Offenders, now known as Change, Grow, Live.

“I would like to pay tribute to his commitment to removing barriers and creating opportunities for people stigmatised by the criminal justice system,” said charity chief Mike Pringle.

David’s health deteriorated over the past five years, leaving him unable to easily take part in goings-on at Champs Hill.

But his humour and generosity never faded, according to a statement by the Bowerman Charitable Trust.

“His humour and intelligence was very much to the fore, as well as a continued generous spirit,” it said.

David died peacefully at his home on June 25 surrounded by his family.

He is survived by wife Mary, daughters Janet Taylor, Kate Bowerman, and Anna Downham, and seven grandchildren.