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I became involved with the Bedford Church Band, as it was then called, in the Autumn of 1975. I was playing 3rd cornet at the time for the Leigh Silver Band when I decided to jump ship to the local rivals. Those of you who remember I was actually caught at the Sunday morning rehearsal of Bedford, by the secretary of Leigh Silver, who had popped out of their rehearsal to borrow some music. Ooops!

Anyhow that's how I became a member of Bedford. I played 3rd cornet for a couple of months before moving onto baritone. The band was then full of enthusiastic youngsters around the age of 16 to 20. It was a great chance to get the band some silverware. Something that had been sadly missing for the first 100 years of its existence.

I became an active member of the committee and instigated many fund raising and sometimes hair raising events. The band started to win a few local contests but I decided it was time to move on (like one does) so I joined the Greenhalls Band on 2nd baritone. They were based in Ashton (the old Haydock and Ashton youth band) and had been newly promoted to the 2nd section.

In July 1979 I joined the East Lancashire Paper Group band at Ratcliffe. The band was top section conducted by Malcolm Brownbill. Within 2 weeks the solo baritone had quit and I found myself on the solo barit' chair. Over the next 18 months Malcolm had moved to Wingates and David Hirst took over the baton.

I got married in 1980 and decided that the trek to Ratcliffe was getting to be a drag so I joined Tyldesley on solo baritone for the end of the 1980 contest season before being persuaded by a few of my old mates to return to Bedford. The conductor at the time was Alan Marsh who was also to have some good success with the band. At the same time that I returned to the band so did at least 4 others, all from the top section. 

After the Buxton contest in 1987, I had just become a father and not wishing to compromise either the band or my family, I regrettably left the band and gave up playing. In 2000 I started playing again  with Coppull and Standish band and retired from full time banding in 2010. I am now involved with the LGN community choir and researching local bands and their histories. My time with Bedford was very special to me and as such the reason for this site.

Please enjoy the site - Tony Hodgetts

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