Wingates Band gets its own blue plaque

From left, principal cornet player Andrew MacDonald, conductor Paul Andrews and second baritone Elisabeth Tweedle

The Wingates Band blue plaque

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , deputy editor

THE members of the world famous Wingates Brass Band are used to blowing their own trumpet.

But now a local history group have done it for the musicians by immortalising them with a prestigious blue plaque.

The Mayor of Westhoughton, Cllr Kevan Jones, unveiled the plaque on Thursday at a special ceremony at Wingates Square, the home of the band’s rehearsal rooms for 141 years.

The unveiling, watched by a group of local residents and band supporters was accompanied, appropriately enough, by a fanfare from 20 of the musicians. They then rounded off the ceremony with a rendition of their signature march.

Cllr Jones said: “It was a great honour and privilege to be asked to unveil the plaque.

“I have seen the band in concert 20 times now and they are just brilliant ambassadors for Westhoughton.”

Band president David Kaye described the plaque unveiling as “very, very emotional”.

He added: “It is one of the most wonderful chapters in the band’s history.”

The band’s home square becomes the third location to be recognised by Westhoughton Local History Group after they put up a blue plaque at the White Lion pub in Market Street to mark the 200th anniversary of the burning of Westhoughton Mill, and at the site of Hulton Cottage in Manchester Road to recognise the contribution made over eight centuries by the Hulton family.

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Mr Kaye believes the latest blue plaque is the first in the country for a brass band and follows on from Wingates Band being mentioned on boundary road signs in 2009 and being awarded the Westhoughton Civic Medal in 2007.

He said: “The band is thrilled to bits. It is something very unusual and the band feel very valued and very cherished to have local recognition.

“It has made them feel a little bit more special than they already are.”

But there was no time to celebrate the latest accolade. Within 10 minutes of the unveiling, the musicians were hard at work in their nearby bandroom, practising for the first competition of the season, the Scottish Open Championships in Perth in October.

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