ONE of the five people responsible for the design and building of the Octagon Theatre, has become the new President of Bolton’s award-winning Eagley Brass Band.

Wolverhampton born Gerry Russell, who has lived and worked in Bolton for more than 50 years, says he is honoured and proud to take up the position.

It comes as Chris Wormald was re-appointed Musical Director of Bolton’s Eagley Band two years ago after a gap of twenty years.

Their first collaboration together is a Gala Concert to raise money for Christie’s Hospital.

The concert will take place in the Victoria Hall on Saturday April 21 at 7.30pm and feature Eagley Band, Smithills Community Band and Choir, singer John Kearns and Mr Wormald.

It was when Mr Russell was a student in Loughborough he and three friends, together with their drama lecturer Robin Pemberton-Billing, designed a revolutionary model of theatre which they brought up to Bolton and presented to the town council in 1965.

The council immediately approved the plans, Mr Pemberton-Billing moved up to Bolton to lead the Octagon Theatre construction and the rest is Bolton history, with the theatre opening remarkably quickly by 1967.

In addition to his design role, Mr Russell was the Octagon Theatre’s first electrician and stayed in the post from 1967 to 1969.

Mr Russell is the co-founder of G N Systems, a long time trustee and fundraiser for Bolton Hospice and, for the past twenty years, leading sponsor of Mr Wormald’s many World and National Champion Smithills School bands.