Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

Wingates Band

About Us

Wingates Band performing at the Pretoria Remembrance in 2010 We are a nationally and internationally renowned brass band, playing in the 'Championship Section' (Brass Banding's 'Premier League') of the UK Band Structure. We perform regularly on the leading concert and contest stages.

The group consists of 30 members with 12 playing musicians; our Supporters Club is over 1000 strong. We employ a professional part-time Music Director - our current MD, Paul Andrews, has been with us since 2013, and has overseen a rise up the international and national brass band rankings.

Wingates Band is a very famous name in banding, and is respected throughout the country for its 'pedigree', consistency and high standards. The band has won 7 British Open Championships; 4 British National Championships. The band achieved an unrivalled 100 years of recording history in 2015 - our CDs are an important part of the bands revenue generation. As part of our 140th anniversary celebration in 2013, a definitive history of the band is was researched and written by band President David Kaye - 'From Bible Class To World Class'.

Wingates Band performing at the Pretoria Remembrance in 2010 Wingates Band prides itself in being part of Westhoughton life and a contributor to community events such as The 100-year Pretoria Remembrance (2010), Luddites Bi-Centenary Celebrations (2012) organised by Westhoughton Local History Group. We also take pride in raising the profile of Westhoughton, often performing alongside our friends The Houghton Weavers. The very popular 'Folk and Brass' concerts with the two 'Westhoughton Legends' would take place twice a year - a combination that worked very well. Our folk friends celebrated 40 years in show business in 2015 (sadly lead singer Tony Berry passed away in 2019, though the band will continue to perform with brother Jim joining the band).

Through networking with WCN we are looking to create a heightened awareness of the 'Jewel' in our midst and what Wingates Band has meant to Westhoughton's heritage and culture for now over 145 years.

Key Objectives

To communicate with the community - raising the band's profile to generate support at concerts; grow our supporters club membership; find, recruit and encourage talented young musicians, and strengthen the backroom team.


We have a band-room at Wingates Square (BL5 3PS); a venue steeped in history that has been used as for some WCN meetings, much to the delight of the network and in keeping with its sharing and learning spirit. The band rehearses here on a Tuesday and Thursday evening (8-10pm). Subject to availability Wingates Band, or smaller Brass Ensembles, are available for events and functions.

We now have a permanent display or information and artefacts upstairs at Westhoughton Library, allowing residents and visitors a chance to see and learn more about the brass band. A history that is both rich and traumatic; with a few that both challenges and provides great optimism.

Contact Info & Website.

Support Wingates Band

As well as performing concerts, Wingates Brass Band is a competing band with all of the costs involved - practice time, instruments, travel & accommodation, as well as maintaining the band hall.

Wingates Brass Band practice for Pretoria Memorial at Ditchfield Gardens 3rd Sept 2017.

The band needs to generate income and sponsorship to keep going, continue to compete, to bring through new talent and musicianship, and to maintain its status as one of the world's top 30 brass bands - and one of the most enduring.

Your contribution and support can make a big difference, helping the band survive and grow. At just £20 a year, membership entitles you to: monthly email updates; a quarterly newsletter; a membership card and a free invitation to the Christmas concert (or an alternative non-charity concert).

Wingates Supporters Club Form | Bank Mandate | 100 Club | Email

For details of upcoming events and news check the Wingates Band website

Latest News & Upcoming Concerts

The band continue to be busy, rehearsing, performing and taking part in competitions. The band also continues to support the local community in Westhoughton and Bolton by performing at on the streets (busking), events or making the Band Hall available for occasional meetings.

Led by Musical Director Paul Andrews, it has been a busy year for Wingates Band with the band working hard with a mix of competition and concerts bringing in income to keep the band going. In addition there have been some interesting projects such as the Co-op grant funded Mental Health workshops and concerts at The Bridge working with Rugby League charity 'State of Mind', and even a residency at comprising of 4 themed 'Friday Night Is Music Night' concerts at Blackrod Community Centre which were well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by the band. There was also, in association with 'Brass Toff Instrument Repairs' and 'Elliott Brass UK', a Masterclass and Concert in April at The Pyramid, Warrington featuring renowned euphonium player Lyndon Baglin as guest soloist and tutor.

The band got through to a third National Championship Final at Birminham Symphony Hall again competing with the very best of banding elite. A creditable performance however finishing 16th out of 18 disappointingly means Wingates Band was relegated back down to the Grand Shield competition - to be held in May 2020 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Our aim is to regroup and work hard to get back into the top tier as soon as possible. We have welcomed some new players this year, many being students, impressing us, we hope to see them return in the future.

'An Audience With Richard Evans' ft Wingates Brass Band - St. Bart's 27th October 2019 Late October, a very special event back in Westhoughton held at St. Batholomew's Church; the final concert of the Autumn season and one with a difference: 'An Audience With Richard Evans', seeing the band go back to a much more traditional brass band programme content and features stories from the world renowned, charismatic conductor Mr. Richard Evans, famous for his flamboyant and vibrant conducting style. Chatting with Paul Andrews Richard talked about his life in banding, including his time with Wingages Band and winning the his first National Championship with them in 1975, and stories from his new book 'Still Beating'. The gathered audience warmly appreciating his presence and celebrating his achievements. A good number of his book purchased.

The band heads into the winter season with some traditional Christmas concerts, and as is tradition we will be doing some busking around Westhoughton to bring some festive spirit and cheer!

Wingates Band continues to work hard both to improve, entertain and survive. We have steadied the ship after a difficult 2017 when close to folding; the bonds between band members are stronger than ever, and the community has rallied round. The band is looking at grants and other funding sources, such as the Supporters Club, to suppliment concerts and merchandise. A major future project will be it will be either refurbishment or rebuilding of the dilapidated Band Hall - it is hoped with community use as part of any plans.

Wingates Band had its AGM on 12th November looking over the past year as an entity and as performers. Ahead is the Christmas concert period with a new concert at Blackrod (1/12) as well as regular visit to St. John's Wingates (12/12) and Over Hulton for the carol service (16/12). Members of the band will be out busking in Westhoughton over Christmas.

Newsletters: October 2019 | March 2019 | February 2018.

Wingates Brass Band in Performance - 2019

  • 2019 Regional Championships, Winter Gardens, Blackpool - 24th Feb [8th place].
  • John Charlson's 60th Anniversary Dinner (Ensemble), Atherton Cricket Club - 7th Mar.
  • Mental Health Music Sessions & Concert (Co-op Local Causes), The Bridge Church, Bolton - 30th & 31st Mar.
  • 'Friday Night is Music Night' - 50 Years Of Pop, Blackrod Community Centre - 5th Apr. (Poster.)
  • Warrington Masterclass & Concert with Lyndon Baglin, The Pyramid, Warrington - 14th Apr. (Poster.)
  • 'Friday Night is Music Night' - Musicals, Blackrod Community Centre - Fri 3rd May (7:30pm). Tkts £10 inc. supper. (Poster.)
  • 'Friday Night is Music Night' - Rat Pack, Blackrod Community Centre - Fri 7th June (7:30pm). Tkts £10 inc. supper. (Poster.)
  • Whit Friday Concert - Tameside and Saddleworth circuit - Fri 14th June.
  • 'Friday Night is Music Night' - Audience Favourites, Blackrod Community Centre - Fri 5th July (7:30pm). Tkts £10 inc. supper. (Poster.)
  • 'Big Fun Day', The Bridge Church, Bolton, BL2 1JX - Sat 6th July (afternoon).
  • 'British Open' Contest, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - Sat 7th Sept (all day).
  • Ribble Valley Music Festival - 'Musicals' theme, Clitheroe - Sat 21st Sept.
  • Concert, Christ Church, Padgate, Warrington - Oct (7:30pm) [TBC].
  • An Audience with Richard Evans, St. Bart's, Westhoughton - Sat 27th Oct (4:30-6:30pm). FREE.
  • Remembrance Parade, Astley Bridge - Sun 10th Nov (10am-12pm).
  • Christmas Concert with Guests, Blackrod Community Centre - Sun 1st Dec (2:00-4:00pm). Tkts £10. (Poster).
  • Traditional Christmas Concert, St Johns Church, Wingates - Thurs 12th Dec (7:30pm). Tkts £8. (Poster)
  • Over Hulton Carol Service - Mon 16th Dec (7:30pm).

For tickets and other enquiries
contact Melanie on 07770 587227 or email melanie@i88.co.uk,
or visit the website: wingatesbrassband.co.uk.

  • 'The Cost of Coal' - Fraternity
    Wingates Band Prepare For British Open with Poignant Piece. More
  • A Fond Farewell - David Kaye Retires From Band After 25 Years.
    Wingates Band President Leaves Impressive Legacy. More
  • Tony Smith's Book inspires a musical show.
    Wingates Band stalwart works with Lucy Pankhurst on Great Shindig. More
  • 90 Years On - Wingates Band Still Featuring On National Airwaves.
    BBC Radio 2 'Listen to the Band' to feature new CD tracks. More
  • Christmas Concert by Wingates Band & Houghton Weavers.
    Festive Folk & Brass from Westhoughton Legends for special year. More
  • New CD Celebrates 100 Years of Recorded Music
    Wingates Band release new 12-track 'Sounds of a Century' album. More
  • Celebrating 100 Years of Recorded Music
    Wingates Band achieve another incredible milestone; 'Sounds of a Century' project. More
  • More Contest Success and a Lightning Storm!
    Wingates Band contest in Yorkshire - brave an electrical storm. More
  • Folk & Brass - 3rd June 2015
    27th Concert together for Westhoughton Musical Legends Houghton Weavers and Wingates Band. More

2013: Wingates Band 140th Anniversary

A year of unprecedented activity saw the culmination of several projects and celebrations to mark such a unique milestone for the Westhoughton-based brass band. Wingates Band even got a mention in the House of Commons - recorded in Hansard (17 Oct 2013 : Column 905) - when then MP, Julie Hilling spoke to the House about the 140 years, the book and anniversary concert.

The Artwork

Wingates Brass Band watercolour by Tom Newton celebrating 140 years Local artist, Tom Newton MBE, produced a water-colour collage - 140 Glorious Years - featuring various aspects of the band's long and colourful history, and association with Westhoughton. The artwork featured on posters and post cards used to raise funds.

The Book

Wingates Brass Band definitive anthology 'From Bible Class to World Class' October saw the publication of the first-ever book telling the full and fascinating story of Wingates, from its establishment in the middle of Queen Victoria's reign, through until the present day. A labour of love, compiled and written by the band's president, David Kaye, the book entitled 'From Bible Class to World Class' chronicles the modest beginnings from a most humble drum and fife ensemble playing chapels and local fêtes to a band which achieved widespread acclaim for its astonishing 'double-double' in 1906 and 1907, when Wingates were crowned as both British Open and British National champions. A story of dedication, enthusiasm and the aspirations of the bandsmen, most of whom worked the local mills and mines - at the time led by William Rimmer, one of the all-time legends of the banding movement (1891 to 1909).

With a total of 7 British Open and 4 British National Championships to their credit - along with numerous other accolades and achievements - the Wingates Band story is indeed one of triumph - but of trauma too. In 1910, at the height of the band's fame, its very future was seriously threatened in the wake of the horrific Pretoria Pit Disaster (Britain's third worst coal mining disaster of all time, with 344 victims), as a result of the loss of many players, including the driving forces of chairman and secretary.

However, Wingates Band is a true survivor, and despite the trauma of Pretoria, and the horrors of two world wars - not to mention quite a few financial crises! - many glorious chapters have been written in the band's story throughout the century and more since the desperately dark days of 1910. 'From Bible Class to World Class' include chapters chronicling the life of the band on the concert and contest platforms, its national and international tours, its long broadcasting and recording pedigrees, appearances before royalty etc. - and more than a sprinkling of Wingates trivia!

The book (£12.95) is available locally at Westhoughton Library or can be ordered via the Wingates Band website or by contacting the band (below).

The Exhibition / Display

Wingates Band working in conjunction with Bolton's Libraries and Museums Service on the 'Band History' project, a 4-tier glass display of Wingates Band artefacts and items of memorabilia has been set up in Westhoughton library on permanent, designed to highlight key aspects of the band's wonderful story, and a brochure has also been published to complement this display.

From its formation in 1873, the display a microcosm of the wonderful Wingates story since mid-Victorian times until the present day, featuring sections showing highlights of the band's story, including a profile of Wingates successes on the contest platform, an outline of the band's concert and touring history. There is a feature commemorating the most traumatic event in the band's 14 decades - namely the Pretoria Pit Disaster, in 1910.

The exhibits will be expanded and updated to reflect the Wingates Band ongoing history and importance and significance to Westhoughton. A renown that stretches across the region, country and world.

The display was augmented by the publication of an informative brochure, available to visitors of the library.

The CD

Musical director Andrew Berryman worked on a project to produce a commemorative CD album, to feature music from all 14 decades of the band's wonderful history, whilst a second album (although not directly linked to the 140th anniversary), featuring music composed entirely by the band's renowned Composer-in-Residence, Lucy Pankhurst, was being produced.

The Concert

In October a high-profile Celebration concert, at which the Anniversary CD album and history book were officially launched, took place. Special guest players at the Victoria Hall concert included euphonium stars David Thornton, Gary Curtin and Lewis Musson - all former Wingates principals - for whom the band's composer-in-residence, Lucy Pankhurst, was commissioned to write a new euphonium trio composition, premièred at the concert.

Other celebratory events also included a nostalgic reunion dinner, to which all former Wingates players were invited.

Contact Information

Band Manager - Sue MacDonald: 07966 364530 | Email, and Assistant Band Manager - Kirsty Jacques: 07969 385623 | Email

The Band's Musical Director is Paul Andrews: 07810 712992 | Email

Visit Wingates Band website for latest news and concert information.

Registered Charity No. 1097122

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  • Westhoughton Library
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    Arts Theatre, High School (BL5 3DN)
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