A classical pianist who gathered a devoted following during 71 years as the performer has died at the age of 84.

Peter Element developed a wide-reaching reputation for entertaining guests during more than 100 BBC appearances.

He was well known for his renditions of Beethoven’s Emperor concerto and Rachmaninov pieces as well as Liszt and Chopin recitals.

Mr Element died peacefully on Friday, November 13 after a long battle with cancer. He had been married to his wife Geraldine for 38 years, after meeting in Zimbabwe in 1977.

Mrs Element, who lives in Bovingdon, said her husband was an “inspiration”.

The 76-year-old said: “He was the love of my life and best friend. Life was never dull with Peter, we enjoyed a very happy, loving relationship, cherished memories of which will remain with me forever.”

Mr Element was born in Dickinson Avenue, Croxley Green, on July 4, 1931.

One of three children, he started playing piano at the age of five and at the age of 13, he ran the school orchestra and played Mendelssohn’s G minor piano concerto with the Philharmonic Orchestra in the Watford Town Hall.

In 1948 he went to the Royal College of Music where he studied with Eric Harrison and Herbert Fyer.

After his London debut in 1954, he played many recitals and concerts, with more than 100 performances for the BBC with all major British orchestras.

Mr Element returned to Watford Town Hall at 26 in 1957 to play Beethoven’s “Emperor” piano concerto under Sir Adrian Boult.

A couple of years later, he played Tchaikovsky at the Royal Albert Hall Prom and was appointed the Professor of Pianoforte at the Royal College of Music.

He went on to be awarded a Fellowship of the college by the Queen Mother in the 1980s.

For the past 33 years, Mr and Mrs Element lived in Bovingdon, where Mr Element used to watch American warplanes take off as a child.

Mr Element had two children with Mrs Element, and also leaves two sons and a daughter from his first marriage, as well as 10 grandchildren.

His son Lloyd Rushton-Jones, 44, said: “I will always remember his patience and guidance. Beautiful memories.”

Mr Element's funeral will take place at 1pm on November 30 at Watford Crematorium.