The death has been announced of Allan Littlemore, the highly respected brass band historian, author and Band Manager of Foden's and Leyland Bands.
He passed away on Saturday 20th February, aged 83.
Sit and listen
His passion for brass bands came from his childhood in Elworth in Cheshire, home to the then Foden's Motor Works Band. Familiar with the tales of the success of the 'World Champion' band, as a youngster he politely asked the great Fred Mortimer if he could be allowed to sit in and listen to the band rehearse one evening.
Instructed to "stay still and not move a muscle"he was literally transfixed. It was to become a life-long connection — one that in 1975 as the personnel officer of Foden's Works, saw Sales Director and family member David Foden ask him, "to look after the band".
Although he never played a musical instrument of any sort himself, Allan took on the challenge at a time when the future of the company itself, let alone its famous band was in grave danger.
He later recalled that his first job was an unhappy one — sacking Musical Director John Golland. He persuaded Rex Mortimer to return as an interim measure as he assessed the future, and with what was to become a forthright acumen for knowing what was needed to succeed, he secured the services of James Scott to begin what he believed would be a long process of rejuvenation.
For the next 14 years he was the administrative catalyst that sowed the seeds and reaped the rewards for the success that eventually followed; including instigating a hugely successful 'Founders Concert' that marked 75 years of Foden's Band.
When direct sponsorship of the band ended when the company was sold, he was instrumental in getting it from its new owners and in securing the services of Howard Snell as Musical Director.
His powers of persuasion were legendary — markedly so in persuading the British American businessman Carton Tickell to sponsor the band and then following his untimely death, to set up what was to become a long and hugely successful sponsorship association with Britannia Building Society.
His pride in the band's history saw him publish a fine commemorative book, celebrating 'One Hundred Years of Musical Excellence' of Foden's Band, whilst he became its authoritative historian — securing numerous artefacts and memorabilia and embarking on outstanding research into many of its legendary figures such as the great cornet player, Edwin Firth.
He later recalled that two of his personal highlights were to accompany the band (which included his son Philip in its ranks) to give its second Royal Command Performance at Buckingham Palace in 1982 — which he described as "the best engagement I ever secured", and to persuade the local Sandbach Council to honour the members of the great pre-War Foden's Band by naming streets in a local housing development after them.
He was later honoured to find that others had recommended him to be added to another local development some years later4BR
He was later honoured to find that others had recommended him to be added to another local development some years later (above).
A great cricket enthusiast (he was by his own admission a 'combative' opening batsman for Elworth Cricket Club) he also managed to secure its long term future when negotiating the purchase of the ground from its owners at a time when a residential development would have raised thousands of pounds more for them.
He later wrote a book on the club as well as on the history of the ERF Truck Company.
Following a short period away from banding he returned to become an influential figure in the administration of Leyland Band as well as publishing two excellent 'Rakeway' brass band reference books and writing numerous expertly researched articles published in the banding press.
Further details will be released in due course. He leaves a wife, Janet, son Phillip and daughter Kathryn.