The Fairey Band has announced that principal cornet player Paul Hughes has relinquished his role as he prepares to make a permanent move to Norway to live and work.
Paul has made the 120 mile each way trip from his home in North Wales to the Fairey bandroom in Stockport for the past three years or more, during which time he has been an integral part in helping the band return to its prominent role as a leading major championship contender.
Musical Director Garry Cutt told 4BR: "I cannot thank Paul enough for the dedication, commitment and sheer excellence he has shown as both a member and player with Fairey Band. To make the trip each week was something in itself, but it has been the quality of his playing, both as a soloist and leader that stands out."
He added: "I've known Paul since my time at Grimethorpe back in 1991 and he hasn't changed. He remains the type of bandsman and player a conductor can only hope to work with. The sheer musicality of his playing stands out. He remains one of the 'true' brass band cornet players in every sense of the word.
Everyone associated with Fairey Band wishes him the very best as he embarks on the next stage of what I'm sure will be a very successful and satisfying musical career."
In response, Paul, who is currently conducting in Norway at a music festival told 4BR: "Becoming principal cornet at Fairey remains one of the great thrills of my playing career.
To be part of a band that has developed so much under Garry and Tom Davoren has also been great, and on a personal note, it's been an honour to be able to play next to Brian Taylor.
There have been so many highlights and I'm sure the band will continue to move forward. I can't thank them enough."
Paul is in the process of moving to the Hordaland area south of Bergen, and has already made a number of connections with local bands and schools.
He added: "I hope to develop my teaching here in a system that puts music at the forefront of its curriculum. It's an exciting opportunity that I really wanted to explore.
Although the move means that I will be making a last appearance as MD with Llanrug at this year's National Eisteddfod, I know I leave with the band in a position of growing strength. I won't be losing touch either as I hope to be able to carry on my role with Dewi Griffiths as one of the ceremonial trumpeters for the Eisteddfod.
I may be living and working in Norway in the future, but my heart will always be in Wales."
To be part of a band that has developed so much under Garry and Tom Davoren has also been great, and on a personal note, it's been an honour to be able to play next to Brian TaylorPaul Hughes
Fairey Band stated that Claire Chalk, the highly respected principal cornet of Ashton under Lyne Band has helped them in recent concerts, whilst Virtuosi GUS principal, Thomas Fountain will be a guest principal cornet in a joint concert the band is undertaking with the Nidaros Band from Norway in June.
Garry Cutt added: "Claire has done a wonderful job and we have been very grateful to her. We are delighted that Thomas will come and assist us, as will his older brother James when we take to the Whit Friday circuit. "
4BR understands that an announcement in respect to a replacement will be made in the near future.