Whitworth Vale & Healey Band
Post World War I 1918-1939
We do know that the band struggled to reform after the First World War, but around this time the band succeeded in securing the conducting services of Mr J Henry White.
The band had lost a number of members in the Great War.
The Institute Band disbanded shortly after the cessation of hostilities, and a number of their players came to Whitworth Vale.
The conductor at that time was Mr. James Butterworth.
Around this time Herbert Barlow was Solo Euphonium with the band.
It is said he was awarded the prize for the best euphonium at Darwen contest. The prize was a ham!
The band in recognition of this feat, had a medal struck to commemorate the occasion.
1939 - 1970
During the war years, the band fell on difficult times, and a meeting was held at the Band Club. A proposal was carried to sell off the instruments and equipment.
The band and it’s instruments at this time belonged to the Band Club. The club committee wished to sell off the instruments to raise capital.
Jack Marsden received the tip off, and was advised of the times when it would be safe to remove the instruments from the club premises. This was done and the instruments and uniforms were hidden away.
Because of this foresight and dedication by a few, the band survived.
The band reformed in the early years after the war, and was back contesting by 1949.
Mr. Harrop took up the baton and once again the Whitworth Vale and Healey Band filled the band club with music, and commenced engagements locally and further afield. Players came from many sources.
An advertisement in the local newspaper attracted hopeful youngsters who were taught by band members.
Pupils were given theory lessons on a blackboard at the band club, and at times youngsters had to share instruments.
The band has a history of engaging professional conductors, and this trend continued.
The first Musical Director after the war was Fred Garth. He was said to be one of the finest Euphonium players of the day along with the likes of Alex Mortimer.
Harry Cheshire succeeded Fred as Musical Director. Coincidentally, he was also a fine Euphonium Player and had played with Fairey Aviation Band.
Bram Gay was Principal Trumpet at the Halle Orchestra, and in his earlier years was Solo Cornet with the famous Fodens Band.
In 1966 Bram Gay steered the band to first place in the Senior Cup at the Belle Vue May contest.
A fantastic day, and what a party we had at the club. The band played up the main road, with the cup, back to the band club for a most memorable night of celebration.