SINGER-songwriter Martin Kitcher had the unusual claim to fame of declaring Dorset independent from the UK.

A legend of the Bournemouth music scene, Mr Kitcher took this drastic step after learning that his entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, titled 'I Actually Rather Like You', would not be considered.

The song was a hit online, but nevertheless the BBC announced that musical maestro Andrew Lloyd Webber was to write the UK entry with the performers being chosen by a television vote.

Mr Kitcher challenged the decision claiming it was against Eurovision rules, but to no avail. In the end he was somewhat vindicated - the UK's entry, 'It's My Time', came 23rd out of 25.

Born in April 1962, bass player Mr Kitcher was, in his youth, at the forefront of the punk music scene in the local area.

After forming the band Comic Action Heroes at school at the age of 15, he joined the New Milton post-punk band Program in 1979.

Although the group garnered some interest their momentum was stalled when Mr Kitcher was involved in a serious on-stage accident.

In 1982 he formed a band called Agagaga and released two albums - Greenworld (1987, Blitz records) and Agamemnon (1990, Dew Records), and at around the same time he wrote the soundtrack for the documentary film "The Last Word", about the 1987 Frank Bruno v Joe Bugner boxing match.

In his younger days Mr Kitcher had combined his music-making with work as a manager at a print factory, but with the birth of his first child he devoted himself full-time to his craft, his band The Alliance, and his family.

Renowned as an experienced and talented bass player, he supported many local acts, including as many as 30 Elvis impersonators.

He continued playing live until 2009 when he suffered a back injury. He was also diagnosed with osteoporosis and became a wheelchair user. Despite this he reunited with many former bandmates from his younger years and continued to release new music.

Mr Kitcher ran MKM Digital, through which he acted as a manager and producer to many acts, often championing alternative music bands and helping them to achieve high profile live appearances and well-produced album releases.

Mr Kitcher, who lived in West Parley, died on May 21.