The origin of FISHBURN BAND stems from the mining community of the small village of Fishburn near Sedgefield in the North East. In the early 1950's two men emerge as those who gave the impetus to set up a Brass Band in Fishburn - Mick Terrans and George Elliott.
At the outset, miners of the local colliery contributed each week to help the provision and maintenance of instruments and when first formed the band was called the Fishburn Colliery Welfare Band. Everyone worked extremely hard and Fishburn Band soon rose from an 'also ran' in the lower sections to become a contender in the Championship Section. Over the years the band formed links, via sponsorship, with various firms associated with the mining industry, such as 'National Smokeless Fuels' and 'Coal Products Limited' whilst remaining loyal to the village of Fishburn. However, following loss of sponsorship the band fought back from financial collapse on three separate occasions.
Fishburn Band enjoy great support from the local community and Workingmen's Club, with a unique support group having been formed to help the band. A main player in the Support Group Secretary was Billy Elliott (whose father, George, first thought of starting a band in the village). He was determined to keep the 'colliery pride' and wouldn't let the band fold. Unfortunately, Billy, Fishburn Bands biggest supporter, passed away late 2018 and is a huge loss to the Band.
The band is very much aware of its responsibilities as one of the North's premier bands and continually strives to maintain its high profile both on and off stage. Fishburn Band is registered as a charity but members still find the time to become involved in numerous local charity events in the village and surrounding areas.
Having previously made 2 LP recordings, one of which was as the supporting Band for Alan Morrisons Solo album, the Band recorded their first CD in April 2000 entitled 'Durham's Pride', details of which can be found here The Band recorded their 2nd CD entitled 'Aurora' in June 2003, in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Band in 2004 details of which can be found here. The Band recorded their 3nd CD entitled 'One Voice' in May 2018, in association with RMT Union, the details of which can be found here.
With excellent owned and modernised rehearsal facilities and new instruments, thanks to fundraising efforts and grants from the National Lottery through the Arts Council, and the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, Fishburn Band continues to go from strength to strength.
November 2005 saw the Band achieve our best ever result at a contest in winning the prestige title of 'Scottish Open Champions 2005' in Glasgow. February 2000 saw the band win the Durham County Brass Band League contest for the fifth year in succession and in March 2006 the band secured a place to represent the Northern Area at the Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall at which we were placed a creditable 12th position against a very strong field of 20 Bands. In 2002, the Band were given the privilege of being invited to the All England Masters Contest for the first time in their history followed by impressive results at the Grand Shield contest in Blackpool Winter Gardens each year in succession. The Band were once again invited to the prestigious English Masters contest held in June 2008.
The Band have had the benefit of being in 'good hands' over the years under the Direction of many excellent resident Musical Directors including Mr William Makepiece, James Foxcroft, David Loukes, Steven Shimwell, Roger Payne, Roy Curran, Ian Robinson, Graham O'Connor, Chris Bentham, John Ward, Phil Rosier, Huw Thomas, Ray Farr, Jason Smith, Joe Cook, Michael Franey and Lewis Wilkinson, along with many 'guest' Musical Directors. Recent professional conductors taking the Band have been David Hirst, Russell Gray, David Roberts, Richard Evans and 'Ex-Fishburn Cornet player Alan Morrison, all of whom bring great experience and encouragement to the Band.
Changes in personnel in recent times have seen the good contest results and improving performances continue, mainly due to the hard work put in by the Musical Directors and players alike. All band members are dedicated to the task of ensuring a long and successful future for Fishburn Band.
Note: We are often asked if we can provide information on what is a Brass Band. For those visitors who are not fully conversant with what a Brass Band is, a very useful definition of a Brass Band and associated information can be found by clicking here
The Band have recently been associated with RMT Union, fulfilling various events on behalf of the Union across the Country and as far as Ireland. Whilst the band continue to be self financing, this is a huge help towards our resources for which we are grateful.