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, more… The band will achieve 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' take place twice a year, usually May and September – a combination that works very well. Our folk friends celebrating 40 years in show business in 2015.

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 over 140 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. 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 | Email Melanie (more info).

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.

Following on from the creditable performance of Fraternity (The Cost of Coal') at The British Open in Birmingham in September, and confirmation of the Band's return to elite of brass bands - Wingates Band is now in the Top 25 worldwide - and news of the financial struggles of keeping the band going, the community has rallied round the Band.

WCN held a fundraising entertainment and variety evening at The Bethel - Brass Band Aid - on Saturday, 14th October (7:30pm) featuring local singers and entertainers to show its support for its local brass band. Thanks to funds raised on the night, Westhoughton Community Network has been able to make a donation of £200 to help support the band.

Wingates Band 'The Best of British' Concert - St. Bart's 21 Oct 17. This was shortly followed by a return home to Westhoughton, with a 'Best of British' with a Last Night at the Proms Finale on Saturday, 21st October Wingates Band performed to a full St. Bartholomew's Church, giving the supportive audience a fantastic evening of great music, accomplished playing, fun and musical insights from Band Musical Director, Paul Andrews.

The Band returned home again in December (Wednesday, 7th), for their traditional Christmas concert at St. John's Wingates; with the final concert of the year, with many attending as members of the new Supporters' Club, took place on a wintry night at the majestic Victoria Hall in Bolton on Saturday, 9th December, supported by the Warrington Maul Voice Choir.

Watch out for Wingates Band out an about 'busking' in Bolton and Westhoughton over Christmas providing some festive cheer and Christmassy tunes. The support of the local community at this time is greatly appreciated.

'The Cost of Coal' - Fraternity

With the Band achieving 2nd place at the Grand Shield Contest at Blackpool Winter Gardens (13th May 2017), it was invited to compete in the British Open at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham on the 9th September 2017. At the Blackpool event Andy MacDonald won the prestigious award for Best Soloist at the Grand Shield Competition.

Wingates Band 'The Cost of Coal' - Open Rehearsal 2 Sept 17. In preparation for the 'British Open', the Band were able to rehearse the specially composed piece 'Fraternity' in Westhoughton giving a free concert in two parts: a Memorial feature and prayer in Ditchfield Gardens; followed by the Open Rehearsal and Test Piece Performance in St. Bartholomew's Church (2nd September). The piece, 'Fraternity', particularly significant given the coal mining disaster theme and Wingates Band's own involvement in the Pretoria mining explosion in 1910, losing several players in the tragedy.

Fraternity Narrative

The musical narrative sets the scene, tells the tale and recalls the aftermath. It comprises seven linked sections that open mysteriously with cold timbres evoking an early morning trek to the pit head before building in anxiety and industry as the miners first descend the shaft before starting their shift of work — from the light above to the dark below to extract the coal.

The catastrophe is ignited by a fractured, frenzied forcefulness, the prelude to which is the ghostly on-rush of air through instruments; life or death a matter of luck as the explosion devastates the underground passages that lead from the coal face to the pit head.

The solemn task of bringing out the dead leads to a bleak paean of reflection before the piece ends in uplifting fashion in the form of a 'Fraternity Prayer' that pays tribute to those lost.

Composer Thierry Deleruyelle hoped bands would be able to identify with something within the piece. It was a heartfelt request that found resonance given the historic association many bands have to heavy industry and coal mining in particular all over Europe.

Getting to the finals marked a tremendous achievement for Wingates Band. The 17-minute piece played by each of the 17 brass bands in the competition (the top bands in the country) and judged according to performance, expression and technical ability.

  • Grand Shield Contest – Winter Gardens, Blackpool – 13th May
  • An 'Evening of Music' at The Bridge Church, 109 Bradford St, Bolton, BL2 1JX – 3rd June (7.30pm). Tickets available on the door and via band's website
  • Whit Marches – 9th June
  • Hebden Bridge Contest – 18th June
  • Clatterbridge Cancer Care Charity Concert – St Georges Hall, St George’s Place, Liverpool, L1 1JJ - 24th June
  • Brighouse Contest – 2nd July
  • Afternoon playing at the Bridge Church (Family Fun Day) 109 Bradford St, Bolton, BL2 1JX – 8th July
  • Special Event - The Cost of Coal 'Open Rehearsal' in Westhoughton, Ditchfield Gardens and St. Bart's – 3rd September
  • 'British Open' Competition - the Symphony Hall, Birmingham - 9th September 2017
  • Best of British Concert at St Bartholomew’s Church, School Street, Westhoughton, BL5 2BG – 21st October (7.30pm). Tickets £8 available on the door and via band's website
  • Marching for the British Legion Remembrance Parade on 12th November
  • Joint Concert with the Band of the King’s Division at The Brindley Theatre, High St, Runcorn WA7 1BG – November 19th (7.30pm). Tickets via Brindley Runcorn
  • Scottish Open Contest, Perth – 25th November
  • Christmas Concert at St John’s Wingates, Westhoughton, Bolton BL5 3PP – 7th December (7.30pm). Tickets available on the door and via band's website
  • Christmas Concert at Bolton Methodist Mission, The Victoria Hall, 37 Knowsley St, Bolton, BL1 2AS – 9th December (7.30pm).

A Fond Farewell

David Kaye bring the new Wingates Band street plaque to an interview on Washacre FM.Marking the end of an era, it was with great sadness that April 2016 saw the retirement of Band President, David Kaye.

David had been a loyal servant and ardent supporter of the band for over 25 years, and has seen the band through the many trials and tribulations of band life, and some wonderful achievements in recent times with the 140-year anniversary celebrations, the anthology 'From Bible Class to World Class' - which benefited from his skills as a historian - and projects such as the 'Sounds of a Century' album celebrating 100 years of Wingates Band recordings.

Enthusiastic and committed, David was a passionate champion of Wingates Brass Band, and a key figure and personality within the Westhoughton community. He organised for two Westhoughton Community Network meetings to take place at the hallowed band hall. With David's tireless efforts, the band have been well represented at community events and fairs. Gratitude, support and best wishes for the future have been expressed by all those who have engaged with him.

His good work will provide an excellent and solid platform for future endeavours by the band. His duties taken on by Joy Mooney and Adam Taylor.

  • 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.

In other anniversary news

David Kaye President of Wingates Band receiving his Honorary Doctorate (image courtesy of 4barsrest website)In honour of his tireless work with Wingates Band and significant contribution to local community life and institutions, Wingates Band President David Kaye has recently had the honour of Honorary Doctorate conferred on him by the University of Bolton, for: "An outstanding contribution to the community of Bolton". Not only does this recognise David, but also Wingates Band itself which continues to endure and entertain across the country and even around the world.

You can read more here [4barsrest website - News]

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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  • Beer Festival
    Daisy Hill Cricket Club (BL5 2EB)
    Fri-Sun 20-22 Apr (from 5pm Fri, 11am Sat/Sun)
    Chance to sample range of beers. Cricket. Food. Entertainment… £2 entry.
  • Community Police
    Informal, confidential drop-ins held by Pcsos, chance to discuss local issues, seek advice on security & crime prevention.
    WH Market: Thurs 19 Apr (12-1pm)
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    Sat 21 Apr; Fri/Sat 27/28 Apr (7:15pm) |
    Westhoughton Methodist Church Hall, Wigan Road (BL5 3QD)
    Always good fun! 40th year! WMADS present latest production… a premier - murder-mystery with audience participation. Tkts £6 - inc pasty and peas supper.
  • Rotary Christmas Float
    Rotary Club of Westhoughton very grateful for public support and donations in the run up to Christmas. £7,431 was raised for local charities and groups to be distributed in April.
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    Meeting Sundays from 10am, volunteer group undertake clean-up and ambient improvement work at Westhoughton Station benefiting local commuters. Excellent progress. All welcome.
    . Finalists 'Community Rail Awards' 2015. Town Council 'Certificate of Achievement'. Recent clean-up
  • Hope Community Centre
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    Hope Centre (Central Drive) BL5 3DS
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. Updated programme.
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    Wed 25 Apr (from 7:30pm)
    Mercury Bolton, Manchester Road (BL5 3JP)
    Free. Fans of George Formby and the ukulele gather to talk, play and be entertained. Last Wed every month.
  • Westhoughton Poetry Group
    Thurs 26 Apr (from 2pm)
    Get poetic - budding Wordsworth or Pam Ayres? - monthly mtg of creative writing group. Newcomers welcome. Contribute or just listen. Free.
  • Bird Walk/Litter Pick
    Sat 5 May (7:30am)
    Eatock Lodge (The Hoskers)
    Guided walk with bird expert as Friends of Eatock Lodge do a bird song walk - lean about our feathered friends. Followed by community litter pick to tidy up local nature reserve. Equipment supplied.
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