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Manchester school band says thanks to Colonel Tom

Tuesday 12 May, 2020

A school band in Manchester has shown its admiration for Colonel Tom Moore by recording a musical birthday treat for the distinguished veteran, who raised more than £32 million for charity.

Members of Fred Longworth High School Brass Band in Tyldesley were inspired to record a Happy Birthday video after the World War Two veteran raised the enormous total by walking laps of his garden. Colonel Tom, who recently turned 100, had hoped to raise £1000 by walking 100 laps but his story captured the hearts of the nation amid the continued spread of COVID-19.

Helen Robinson, conductor of the band and head of music at Fred Longworth High School, made an arrangement of the melody then sent out copies of each part for band members to practise and record at home. The video also features messages from members of the band. Recordings were pulled together by Jack Corrigan, a technician at the school before the finished product was uploaded on April 30 for Colonel Tom’s 100th birthday.

Anna Jones, head girl at Fred Longworth High School and a member of the band, told British Bandsman: “We wanted to honour Colonel Tom and give something back for all he has done for our country and is continuing to do for the NHS now.

“He has inspired us, as well as the rest of the country, with his courage, drive, enthusiasm and sheer determination to succeed despite this being such a difficult time and so for us, this video is a massive thank you to him from everyone in Freddies Brass Band. Our main aim was for him to see the video as we hoped it might be something slightly different to brighten his day, just like he has brightened all of our days during his fundraising journey.”

Anna continued: “We are desperate to keep music and our band alive through this unprecedented time as we miss rehearsing and performing together so much. We really are like a family, so following in the footsteps of some championship brass bands by creating virtual performances is the way we hope to do that.”

Fred Longworth High School Brass Band has enjoyed numerous highlights including enjoying contest success at the National Youth Brass Band Championships and appearing in Music for Youth events.

The band has performed at Windsor Castle and had been due to undertake a tour of France and Germany later this year.