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Report & Results: 2023 Saddleworth & Oldham District Whit Friday

Brighouse & Rastrick make it a Knight to remember as they claim the Saddleworth Whit Friday honours.

Whit Friday
  The Saddleworth Whit Friday contests took place on a beautiful early summers day (Credit: B&R Band)

Six of the best performances of 'Knight Templar' saw Brighouse & Rastrick become the Saddleworth Whit Friday champion for the first time since 2019.

Under the baton of guest conductor Prof Garry Cutt, their brilliant renditions of the George Allan classic march claimed victories at Denshaw, Dobcross, Greenfield, Lydgate, Lees & Springhead and Scouthead & Austerlands. In addition, they also secured podium finishes at Diggle and Delph.

The six wins gave them an unassailable set of results in the race for the overall Saddleworth Area prize of £2,500, which in turn boosted their overall Whit Friday contest day takings to well over £8,500.

Resplendent in their traditional Whit Friday tunics, the British Open champion headed to each venue with the famous trophy glistening in the sun in front of them, accompanied by the sound of the road march 'Royal Trophy'.

Favourite

It will now be joined in their own trophy cabinet by a host of new silverware, as they provided ample evidence of their mastery of the march contest genre under a conductor who also enjoyed every moment of leading from the front at what he revealed has always been his favourite band contest of the year.

"Those who know me will be aware that Whit Friday contest is my favourite day of the year," the 'Marple Maestro', Prof Cutt said.

It's peculiar and brilliant and needs a tremendous band on top form not just to won once, but to win time and again to claim the title. Top class consistency is the key — and they made it sound so easy."

He added: "It's always been a secret ambition of mine to lead Brighouse & Rastrick in Saddleworth and I'm delighted I was asked to do so this year. They never disappoint. It was a fantastic day and a brilliant experience, and my thanks go to the band."

Thrill

Band Chairperson Ste Cavanagh was also delighted to add another title success to the band's CV, as they look forward to what promised to be an exciting Autumn series of major contests.

"It's such a thrill to be crowned Whit Friday champion, and even more so as we were able to show off the British Open Trophy around the circuit for the first time in over 40 years. The reaction of the crowds to seeing it was brilliant.

Our thanks go to all the amazing volunteers who organised and supported each contest event. It's such an important day for the banding movement. We look forward to returning for many more years to come thanks to their efforts."

Podiums for Oldham Band (Lees) and Grimethorpe

Consistency was also the key to the success of Oldham Band (Lees), as local resident John Collins proudly led his band at nine contest venues to come runner-up.

Their fine performances of 'The Wizard' secured a victory at Diggle as well as two podium and four other top-six finishes to beat off stiff opposition to claim an overall prize money boost of around £3,900.

Right on their tails was Grimethorpe Colliery as they returned to the Whit Friday contests for the first time since 2012.

Although they didn't manage to claim an individual victory, their 'Knight Templar' consistency saw them capture three podium finishes as they scooped over £3,250 to bolster their coffers.

World and Welsh firsts

Regular contenders WFEL Fairey and Hepworth once again showed their solid form at the event as they came fourth and fifth overall, whilst contest debutants Tredegar rounded off a memorable first visit to Saddleworth by winning at Delph, as the 76th and final band of the day — the first ever non-English band to do so.

With that victory and three runner-up spots from their six outings, they later told 4BR that they were delighted to have made their way around unfamiliar surroundings and to have received such a warm welcome.

So too others, such as the returning GUS Band as well as the welcome visitors that add so much colour to the day from Switzerland, Norway and Australia, some of whom also took part in the traditional early morning Procession of Witness services.

At Uppermill there was also a remarkable victory for the Bad Ass Brass. Led by MD Jim Lynch it was the first time a 'scratch band' had won a top prize (£1,000 in this case) since 2003 when the famous Navigation Inn Brass won.

Their performance of 'Mephistopheles' secured victory ahead of Grimethorpe Colliery and Oldham Band (Lees).

Local pride

Although the Whit Friday event attracts bands from all over the world, there remains a keenly contested 'Local' element, with Lee Skipsey leading Milnrow to the overall honours ahead of First Section Cheltenham finalist Boarshurst Silver and Marsden Silver.

Milnrow also came ninth in the overall standings thanks to excellent podium finishes at Lydgate and Denshaw.

It was also great to see several youth band ensembles on show, with the polished excellence of 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band taking the honours, whilst the Friezland Contest attracted a fine turn out of 44 Third, Fourth and Youth Bands — won by Dobcross Silver.

Glorious weather

The glorious weather also ensured that both competitors and listeners alike had to thankfully don sunglasses rather than plastic macs to battle the elements.

And with the event falling in the school holidays, the indefatigable local organisers and volunteers were kept busy from the start of the Processions of Witness events to the last contest march performance.

Their outstanding efforts, backed by limitless patience, good humour and understanding were thanked by bands and audiences alike, although as they had to deal with the usual registration queries and occasional boisterous anti-social behaviour.

4BR understands that one venue will also be making a formal complaint about what they believe was an unjustified officious approach and response of some police and council representatives to their well-established and agreed end of day contest procedures.

There were also concerns raised at other venues at performances that perhaps due to excessive alcohol consumption failed to adhere to the true ethos of the Whit Friday contest day.

Malcolm Wood

Our thanks also go to all the amazing volunteers who organised and supported each contest event. It's such an important day for the banding movementBrighouse & Rastrick Band.

Overall Results: Area Prizes: Six lowest scores from contest on the circuit.

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (£2,500)
2. Oldham Band (Lees) (£1,000)
3. Grimethorpe Colliery (£750)

Best Local Band:

Bands have their headquarters no more than 8 miles from the centre of Uppermill and have not won a main overall prize.

1. Milnrow (£750)
2. Boarshurst Silver (£600)
3. Marsden Silver Prize (£400)

Best Youth:

1. 2nd Rossendale Scout Group (£250)

Overall Top 6:

1. Brighouse & Rastrick
2. Oldham Band (Lees)
3. Grimethorpe Colliery
4. WFEL Fairey
5. Hepworth
6. Tredegar

https://saddleworthwhitfriday.co.uk/area-prizes/

Individual Results:

Delph:

(76 Bands)
Adjudicator: Leigh Baker

1. Tredegar (£1,000)
2. Grimethorpe Colliery (£800)
3. Brighouse & Rastrick (£400)
4. GUS Band (£300)
5. WFEL Fairey (£250)
6. Aldbourne (£200)
7. Hepworth (£150)

Highest placed non-Championships Band: Staffordshire Band (£150)

Best Saddleworth Band: Oldham Band (Lees) (£150)
Runner up: Delph (£100)

Best First/Second Section Band: Marsden Silver (£150)
Best Local Band: Milnrow (£150)
Runner up: Boarshurst Silver (£100)

Best Youth Band: Oldham Music Centre Youth (£150)
Runner up: Tewit Youth (£100)

Best Trombone Section: Tredegar (£40)
Best Basses: Grimethorpe Colliery (£40)
Best Soprano: Brighouse & Rastrick (£40)
Best Euphonium: GUS Band (£40)
Best Cornet: Hepworth (£40)


Denshaw:

(54 Bands)
Adjudicator: Allan Holdsworth

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (£1,000)
2. Tredegar (£600)
3. Milnrow (£400)
4. Grimethorpe Colliery (£200)
5. WFEL Fairey
6. Oldham Band (Lees)

Best Saddleworth: Oldham Band (Lees) (£150)
Runner up: Boarshurst Silver (£125)

Best Local Band: Delph (£100)
Best non UK Band: Kleppe Musikklag (£100)

Best First Section Band: Bollington (£100)
Runner up: Old Hall Brass (£75)

Best Second Section Band: Musik Frohsinn Oberburg (£100)
Runner up: Tanunda Town (£75)

Best Third Section Band: BMP (Europe) Goodshaw (£100)
Runner up: Musikgesellschaft Oberwill (£75)

Best Fourth Section Band: Littleborough (£100)
Runner up: Witney Town (£75)

Best Youth Band: Tewit Youth (£100)
Runner up: Dobcross Youth Training (£75)

Best Soprano Cornet: Brighouse & Rastrick (£40)
Best Basses: Tredegar (£40)
Spot Prize: Salvo Brass (£100)


Diggle:

(61 Bands)
Adjudicator: Helen Douthwaite-Teasdale

1. Oldham Band (Lees) (£800)
2. Brighouse & Rastrick (£500)
3. Aldbourne (£400)
4. Grimethorpe Colliery (£250)
5. Boarshurst Silver
6. Kleppe Musikklag

Best Championship Band: Milnrow (£100)
Best First Section Band: Boarshurst Silver (£150)
Best Second Section Band: Valley Brass (£150)
Best Third Section Band: Hawk Green (£150)
Best Fourth Section Band: Golborne Brass (£150)
Best Unregistered Band: A.S.B. (£100)
Best Youth Section Band: 2nd Rossendale Scouts Group (£100)
Best Saddleworth Band: Uppermill (£125)

Best Soprano: Oldham Band (Lees) (£30)
Best Cornet: Oldham Band (Lees) (£30)
Best Bass Section: Brighouse & Rastrick (£60)
Best Euphonium: Oldham Band (Lees) (£30)

Best Instrumentalist not in Championship Section: Luke Broadrick (Bollington) (£30)
Best Youth Soloist: Littleborough Training Band (£50)
Best Band on March: Joint winners — Krapfoss Hornorkester & 2nd Rossendale Scout Group (£25 each)


Dobcross:

(68 Bands)
Adjudicator: Stephen Tighe

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (£750)
2. Grimethorpe Colliery (£500)
3. WFEL Fairey (£400)
4. Chav Brass
5. Oldham Band (Lees)
6. GUS Band

Best First Section Band: Wardle Anderson (£100)
Best Second Section Band: Valley Brass (£100)
Best Third Section Band: Krapfoss Hornokester (£100)
Best Fourth Section Band: Blackley Band (£100)

Best Local Band: Oldham Band (Lees) (£100)
Best Saddleworth Band: Boarshurst Silver Band (£100)
Best Local Band on Whit Walks: Boarshurst Silver Band (£75)

Best Youth Band: Oldham Music Centre (£150)
Runner up: 2nd Rossendale Scouts Band (£100)

Best Youth Soloist: Euphonium (Oldham Music Centre) (£25)
Runner up: Cornet (Dobcross Youth Band) (£25)

Best Unregistered Band: Chav Brass (£100)
Most Entertaining Band: Chav Brass (£100)
First Band to check in and play: Dobcross Silver Band (£10)


Friezland:

(44 Bands)
(Third/Fourth/Youth only)
Adjudicator: T. Newbigging

1. Dobcross Silver (£200)
2. Alexander Brass Band (Norway)
3. Rivington & Adlington
4. University of Sheffield Alumni
5. Eccleston Brass
6. Hawk Green

Best Fourth Section Band: Rivington & Adlington
Best Youth Band: Oldham Music Centre
Runner up: Tewit Youth
Best University Band: Durham University Band

Entertainment Prize: Oldham Music Centre

Best Basses: Eccleston Brass
Best Cornet: Littleport Brass

Deportment: Rossendale Scout Group Band


Greenfield:

(64 Bands)
Adjudicator: Chris Wormald

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (£1,000)
2. Tredegar (£750)
3. Oldham Band (Lees) (£500)
4. Aldbourne
5. GUS Band
6. Chav Brass

Best First Section Band: Boarshurst Silver (£400)
Runner up: Silk Brass (£200)

Best Second Section Band: Musik Frohsinn Oberberg (£150)
Runner up: Audley Brass (£125)

Best Third Section Band: Golborne (£100)
Runner up: Dobcross Silver (£75)

Best Fourth Section Band: Blackley (£70)
Runner up: Warwick University (£60)
Third: Whitney Town (£50)

Best Youth Band: Dobcross Youth (£70)

Best Cornet: Brighouse & Rastrick (£100)
Best Euphonium: Brighouse & Rastrick (£50)
Best Youth Soloist: Dobcross Youth (£50)

Best Saddleworth Band: Boarshurst Silver (£50)
Best Saddleworth Youth Band: Dobcross Youth (£50)
Best Local Band: Oldham Band (Lees) (£50)
Best Local Band in Fourth Section or below: Friezland (£50)
Best Overseas Band: MF Oberberg (£50)

Deportment: Dobcross Silver (£100)
Runner up: LGB Band (£50)

Entertainment: Chav Brass (£100)
Runner up: Tanunda Band (£50)


Grotton:

(51 Bands)
Adjudicator: Christopher Bond

1. Foden's (£700)
2. Hepworth (£350)
3. WFEL Fairey (£150)
4. Oldham Band (Lees) (£100)
5. Marsden Silver
6. Wardle Anderson

Best First Section Band: Marsden Silver (£150)
Runner up: Wardle Anderson (£75)

Best Second Section Band: Musik Froshin Oberberg (£150)
Runner up: Uppermill (£75)

Best Third/Fourth Section Band: Krapfoss Hornorkester (£150)
Runner up: Musikgesellschaft Oberwill (£75)

Best Local Band: Oldham Band (Lees) (£150)
Runner up: Marsden Silver (£75)

Best Youth Band: Tewit Youth (£150)
Runner up: 2nd Rossendale Scouts Group (£50)

Best Scratch Band: Bad Ass Brass (£100)

Deportment: Music Froshin Oberberg (£30)
Youth Deportment: Tewit Youth (£25)

Best Cornet: Foden's (£30)
Best Soprano Cornet: Bad Ass Brass (£30)


Lydgate:

(76 Bands)
Adjudicator: Sam Fisher

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (£850)
2. Milnrow
3. Oldham Band (Lees)
4. Foden's
5. Marsden Silver
6. Rothwell Temperance

Best First Section: Marsden Silver
Runner-up: Wardle Anderson

Best Second Section: Diggle
Runner-up: Uppermill

Best Third Section: Krapfoss Hornorkester
Runner-up: (BMP Europe Ltd) Goodshaw Band

Best Fourth Section: Penrith Town
Runner-up: Loxley Silver

Best Local Band: Milnrow
Runner-up: Oldham Band (Lees)

Best Youth Band: Oldham Music Centre Youth
Runner-up: Tewit Youth

Best Scratch Band: Bad Ass Brass

Best Trombones: Brighouse & Rastrick
Best Basses: Milnrow
Best Euphonium: Aldborne
Best Cornet: Oldham Band (Lees)
Best Youth Soprano Cornet: Tewit Youth


Lees & Springhead

(39 Bands)
Adjudicator: Alan Fernie

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (£500)
2. Tredegar (£250)
3. Boarshurst Silver (£150)
4. Chav Brass
5. Silk Brass
6. WFEL Fairey

Best First Section Band: Silk Brass (£75)
Runner up: Marsden Silver (£50)

Best Second Section Band: Lindley Band (£75)
Runner up: Delph Band (£50)

Best Third Section Band: Hawk Green (£75)
Runner up: Sale Brass (£50)

Best Fourth Section Band: Stalybridge Old (£75)
Runner up: Littleborough (£50)

Best Youth Band: 2nd Rossendale Scout Group (£50)
Runner up: Tewit Youth (£30)

Best Local Band: Milnrow (£100)
Best Band in OMBC: Delph Band (£50)

Best Cornet: Silk Brass (£25)
Bes Euphonium: Tredegar (£25)

Deportment: Sale Brass (£50)
Youth Deportment: Tewit Youth (£50)


Scouthead & Austerlands:

(72 Bands)
Adjudicator: Jonathan Pippen

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (£1,000)
2. WFEL Fairey (£500)
3. Hepworth (£400)
4. GUS Band (£300)
5. Oldham Band (Lees) (£150)
6. Silk Brass (£150)

Best First Section: Silk Brass (£150)
Runner up: York Railway Institute (£100)
Third: Mossley (£50)

Best Second Section: Musik Frohsinn Oberberg (£150)
Runner up: Besses Boys (£100)
Third: Whitworth Vale & Healey (£50)

Best Third Section: Dobcross Silver (£150)
Runner up: MG Oberwill (£100)
Third: Krapfoss Hornorkester (£50)

Best Fourth Section: Putney & Wimbledon (£150)
Runner up: Dobcross Brass Monkeys (£100)
Third: University of Warwick (£50)

Best Local Band: Oldham Band (Lees) (£150)
Runner up: Milnrow (£100)
Third: Marsden Silver (£50)

Best Youth Band: 2nd Rossendale Scouts Group Band (£150)
Runner up: Tewit Youth (£100)
Third: Dobcross Youth (£50)

Best Saddleworth Band: Uppermill (£150)
Runner up: Diggle Band (£100)
Third: Delph Band (£50)

Overseas Band Award: Kleppe Musikklag (£100)

Senior Deportment: MG Oberkirsch (£50)
Youth Deportment: Tewit Youth (£50)

First Band to play: University of Edinburgh (£30)

Best Bass Section: Brighouse & Rastrick (£50)
Best Soprano Cornet: Hepworth (£30)
Best Soloist: Cornet — Brighouse & Rastrick (£30)
Best Bass Trombone: Milnrow (£30)


Uppermill:

(59 Bands)
Adjudicator: Benjamin Richeton

1. Bad Ass Brass (£1,000)
2. Grimethorpe Colliery (£750)
3. Oldham Band (Lees) (£500)
4. GUS Band (£250)
5. Hepworth
6. Aldbourne

Best First Section Band: Langley Band (£150)
Runner up: Marsden Silver (£100)

Best Second Section Band: Slaithwaite (£150)
Runner up: Haslingden & Helmshore (£100)

Best Third Section Band: Alexander Brass Band (£150)
Runner up: Hawk Green (£100)

Best Fourth Section Band: Golborne Band (£150)
Runner up: Putney & Wimbledon (£100)

Best Saddleworth Band: Boarshurst Silver (£175)
Best Local Band: Dobcross Brass Monkeys (£175)

Deportment: Grimethorpe Colliery (£50)
Local Deportment: Dobcross Silver (£50)

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