Winterley Brass Band Alumni


The first Winterley Band

The first Winterley Methodist Brass Band outside the church.

Winterley Methodist Brass Band was founded in 1938.   During the last seventy four years many players have performed with the band and the membership has grown significantly, particularly during the last two decades.

The band has compiled a list of everyone who has ever been a regular member of the band.   Please click on the link below to view the list of alumni.

If you are aware of any further names which should be included in the list, please email with the details.

An Acrobat document with past membership can be found here:  


Fiona Freeman

Fiona Freeman

Fiona Freeman

A service to celebrate the life of band member Fiona Freeman was held at Crewe Crematorium on Tuesday 20 November 2018. The service was conducted by Rev David Page and the hymns were Morning Has Broken and Shine Jesus Shine.

Winterley Methodist Brass Band owes Fiona a huge debt of gratitude for all the time and practical support she gave, in order to enable the band to flourish. First as secretary and more recently as assistant librarian and the person responsible for the uniform, she has been a loyal servant of the band for many years. Collecting donations on band rounds and helping to set up the hall for rehearsals, etc. are just some of the ways in which Fiona went the ‘extra mile’ for the band, and why she was rightly voted Bandperson of the Year in 2017.

It was in the late 1990’s that her son Ben first came to a rehearsal, and before long the whole family became active members and office holders. During the last decade, Fiona has also been a loyal member of the Trainer Band, encouraging everyone and ensuring that each member of the group also received a uniform.

Despite her illness Fiona was determined to play her tenor horn for as long as possible, and members will always remember the incredible effort she made to join in the Elworth band round in the Summer of 2018, and to take part in what was to be her last concert at St John’s Methodist Church, Whitchurch on 6 October. We are so glad that that particular performance was recorded.

Fond memories of Fiona will live on in our hearts, she was a very special lady who showed incredible courage, bravery and sheer determination to keep going, even when her health problems might have suggested otherwise. Since receiving her diagnosis she has set us all an incredible example of how to cope with the challenges which she had to face.

Thank you Fiona - we owe you so much and we will always remember your cheerful smile

Please hold Alan, Ben, Erica, Georgina, Tim, Jacob and Samwise in your thoughts and prayers.

Neil Barnett
Winterley Methodist Brass Band


David G Newton

David G Newton

David G Newton

Through his performances in slow melody and quartet competitions at a young age, playing at the highest level during his teens and twenties, conducting many different brass bands (and the church choir at Winterley) and playing hymns during numerous band rounds, Dave Newton has certainly shared his love of music with many, many thousands of people during his lifetime.

Dave was born in Wheelock Heath (Sandy Lane) and attended Haslington CE Primary School. He was 8 when Eric Barnett  asked him if he would like to play an instrument. Eric fetched a tenor horn to his mother’s home and that was the start of Dave’s musical career.

By the age of 10, he was playing for Winterley Methodist Brass Band on the Sunday School Anniversary Rounds. Aged 12, he joined Middlewich Centenary Band, and began entering Slow Melody and quartet competitions. Aged 15, he performed his audition for Foden’s Band in front of Harry and Rex Mortimer, and played with the band until 1971.

As a conductor and musical director, Dave shared his musical skills and musicianship with the members of Hanley Police Band, Wem Brass Band, Tarporley Brass Band, Normid Brass Band, Crewe Concert Band and Winterley Methodist Brass Band. He was Band Master of Winterley from 1981 – 1993 & 1997 – 2003 and Musical Director from 1994 – 1996.

Those players and singers who have had the privilege of being conducted by Dave will have their own fond memories of how he coaxed a higher level of performance from the musicians present, by singing and sometimes whistling how he wanted a phrase or section to sound. His sense of humour always shone through and his love of music was clear for all to see.

The members of Winterley Methodist Brass Band salute a very special person who rose to the heights of brass banding, but maintained his links with the band across seventy years. By playing third cornet during recent years, he has continued to encourage and support those starting out on their musical journey.

We all owe Dave a huge debt of gratitude for everything he has done to encourage so many musicians. As one of the custodians of the brass band movement during the last few decades he set a very high standard – one which will be hard to equal.

Thank you Dave.



Neil Barnett


Winterley Methodist Brass Band


Cliff French

Cliff French

Cliff French
24/07/1935 - 17/03/2016

A service to celebrate the life of Cliff took place at Winterley Methodist Church on Tuesday 5 April 2016, and was followed by burial at St Matthew’s Parish Church, Haslington. The service was conducted by Ian White, David (grandson) read the lesson and Bradley (grandson) a poem called Grandad. A small group of brass players played hymn tunes outside the church prior to the service.

Cliff will long be remembered for his loyal membership of Winterley Methodist Church and his service to the local brass band community. Winterley Methodist Brass Band owes Cliff a huge debt for his willingness to become a key office holder. In 1972 he took over the role of band secretary and served in that vitally important position until 1991. During those years Cliff played his baritone on numerous band rounds and at many concerts. He also helped to organize the band’s Golden Jubilee celebrations which were held at Sandbach Town Hall in 1988. It was Cliff in particular who ensured that the entertainment that evening was provided by Foden’s Band conducted by Howard Snell.

Cliff worked very hard to ensure not only the success of Winterley Band, but also Haslington Boys Brigade Band and Foden’s Band. His determination to encourage interest in brass bands took many forms, an outstanding example being his ambition to establish the Foden’s Band Patrons Association. He called together some friends for an initial meeting at Winterley Methodist Church in June 1987, and then personally recruited numerous members and invited them to the first Patron’s Association concert at Sandbach Town Hall. By the following year the numbers had grown so much that the venue had to be changed to Sandbach Boys School, where it has continued to be held annually.

These few words cannot begin to do justice to the huge contribution which Cliff made to all our lives. It is certainly hard for anyone to begin to estimate how many people, of all ages, were introduced to brass banding by Cliff. His huge legacy will live on through the music performed by all the musicians with whom he worked, and through the large listening audience to whom he introduced brass band music.

We give thanks for the way in which music moves and shapes us. May our lives, like Cliff’s, nurture the precious gift of music.

Please hold Sheila and the family in your prayers.

Neil Barnett
Committee Secretary
Winterley Methodist Brass Band

David Lowe

Dave Lowe pictured at the band's 75th Anniversary Dinner.

The funeral service for David Lowe (aged 55) was held at Wheelock Methodist Church on Friday, 7th November, 2014.   David was an organic dairy farmer who, in addition to playing in the band, always found time to support the band in a practical ‘hands on’ way.   Following a service at the farm many years ago, he was tempted to learn to play and subsequently taught himself to play the euphonium.

David could always be relied upon to use his Landrover and trailer to transport the band equipment to concerts, and he and his wife, Caroline have hosted the annual band party at School Farm for many years.   David also arranged for the band to rehearse at the Hancock Hall at his ‘home’ church, Wheelock Methodist Church, when elections prevented the hall at Winterley being used.

Over the years, David and Caroline have hosted Band Coffee Evenings at the farm to help raise funds for the band.   A marquee and covered stalls are just small examples of the considerable effort which they have made to ensure that the events were a great success.   Recently, David agreed to store a large number of items at the farm for the successful Attic & Garage Sale at Winterley in September.   Nothing was ever too much trouble for David.

He attended the band rehearsal on Thursday, 23rd October as usual, and therefore his untimely death, two days later, came as a huge shock to everyone in Winterley Band.   David was a ‘team player’ with a gentle sense of humour, and the band owes him and Caroline a huge debt of gratitude for the endless support which they have selflessly given over many years.

Forty players were present to play before, during and after David’s funeral service.   The coffin entered the church to the strains of ‘We Plough The Fields And Scatter’ and the recessional music was the hymn tune "Deep Harmony".   The hymns were "Blessed Assurance", "Love Divine" and "Great is Thy Faithfulness".   The excellent number of players present enabled two bands to be formed (one inside and one outside).   The wonderful turnout is testament to the high regard in which David was held by everyone in the band.

These few words do not begin to do justice to the huge contribution which David made to all our lives. He leaves a gigantic ‘space’ and a huge legacy.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
     But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

(Words included in the order of service)  

Please hold Caroline, Katy, Sarah & Clare in your thoughts and prayers.

(In the band photograph at the head of the Home page David is fourth from the right on the front row.)

Neil Barnett
Committee Vice-Chair
Winterley Methodist Brass Band

Grand Award for Granville

Winterley’s soprano player Granville Jennings has been honoured with the North West Area Brass Band Association’s “Diamond award for long service”. This award is in recognition of Granville's 67 years (1948 - present) of continuous service to the brass band movement as both a player and a conductor. His first band was the Wigan British Legion Band. Granville then played for the Coppull Band, Wingates, the Haigh Band, the Lower Ince Band and Foden's (1964 - 1974). He then moved on to the Royal Doulton Band, before conducting Beresford's Band until 1990. That same year Granville took on the job of band librarian for Foden's and joined Winterley Methodist Brass Band, where he has been our assistant MD since 2004. He is also a member of the Sandbach U3A band.

The award was presented at a Foden’s concert in Sandbach on 17 September by Mark Wilkinson, principal cornet at Foden’s, who thanked him for his continued service and dedication to both Foden’s and the brass band movement.

Where Are They Now?

Thank you to all those former band members who have kindly agreed to write a few paragraphs about what has happened to them since they ceased playing regularly in the band.
1.     Duncan Hook

2.     Tina Ashburner (nee Sandlands)

3.     Marc Clarke

4.     Rachel Goddard
5.     Daniel Keen

6.     Michael Shenton

7.     Lisa Wilkinson

This section is in the process of development.

ALUMNI:    1938 - 1947

The following information is taken from in a cash book in which the treasurer recorded the weekly subscriptions.

In 1938 the band was known as Winterley Methodist Sunday School Band.   The officers in that year were:

President - David (Dave) McClymont
Secretary - William (Bill) Newton
Treasurer - Eric Barnett

The names of the following band members are listed for all or part of the following years - December, 1938 to July, 1947:
 1.    David (Dave) McClymont  5.     Roy Antrobus  9.     Alan Large
 2.    William (Bill) Newton  6.     Robert (Bob) H. Fleet  10.    Henry Newton
 3.    Eric Barnett  7.     Harold Newton  11.    R. Bailey
 4.    Clifford Barnett  8.     R. Price  12.    T. Jones

In October 1943 approx. five new learners commenced.   They are recorded as ‘Lads’ (i.e. No names are entered in the book).   The weekly subscription was 6d and 1d for lads.   At a meeting on 15th May, 1940, it was agreed to reduce the subscription to 3d.

Information provided by Neil Barnett - December, 2011.

Musical Directors of Winterley Methodist Brass Band

The list of names below has been produced to acknowledge the dedicated and loyal service given by those who have directed the music performed by the band throughout its history.   The ‘job titles’ have changed over the years – whatever the title, the band owes a great debt to each person named.   The information is taken from the band archive.

Date Name Title
1938 - 1972 Harold Newton Bandmaster
1972 - 1973 Clifford Barnett Acting Bandmaster
1973 - 1975 Clifford Barnett
Roy Sparkes
John French
Musical Director
Assistant Conductor
1976 - 1977 Clifford Barnett
Michael Shenton
Musical Director
1978 - 1980 Clifford Barnett
Cliff French
Musical Director
1981 - 1993 Clifford Barnett
Dave Newton
Musical Director
1994 - 1996 Dave Newton
Paul Vickers
Musical Director
Bandmaster (Regular Conductor)
1997 - 2003 Paul Vickers
Dave Newton
Musical Director
2004 - Present Richard Birchenough
Granville Jennings
Musical Director
Asst. Musical Director

. At the 2005 AGM the title of ‘Bandmaster’ was re-instated “for the purpose of band organisation and discipline at concerts, etc.”

Geoff Hall was appointed in 2005, Dave Wood in 2011 and Geoff Hall again in 2012.

Information provided by Neil Barnett - February, 2011

Presidents of Winterley Methodist Brass Band

The minister of Winterley Methodist Church has traditionally held the post of Band President and chaired the band AGM. The list below acknowledges the support and encouragement given to the members of the band by all the ‘resident’ ministers of the church since the band was founded in 1938.

Date Name
1938 - 1941   Rev J W Horner
1941 - 1946   Rev W Brown
1946 - 1949   Rev J Riddell Smith
1949 - 1951   Rev Lewis F Lovell
1951 - 1952   Rev Jack Dowson
1952 - 1955   Rev J Basil Pegman
1955 - 1959   Rev Eric D Lees
1959 - 1962   Rev A R James
1962 - 1967   Rev Michael W Hill
1967 - 1972   Rev Frank E Bishop
1972 - 1977   Rev Robert W Gollins
1977 - 1981   Rev Paul R Cieka
1981 - 1982   Rev Kenneth Stone (Circuit Superintendent)
1982 - 1986   Rev Horace Barker
1986 - 1987   Rev G Guy Stanford (Circuit Superintendent)
1987 - 1992   Rev Edward Hobbs
1992 - 1994   Rev J Graham Wassell
1994 - 2008   Rev David R Westhead
2008 - 2010   Rev Simon Sutcliffe
2010 - 2012   Rev Pauline Basterfield
2012   Rev Malcom Lorimer (Circuit Superintendent)

. Most of the information is taken from AGM minutes and circuit plans.

Information provided by Neil Barnett - January, 2013