Published notice of Annual General Meeting of Besses Boys’ Band 2023.

The meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss how the organization has performed over the last 12 months and how our organisation can continue to grow and succeed. We also welcome feedback from the floor and nominations for the coming year.

The meeting will take place at Lady Wilton Hall, Simister Lane, Simister, Prestwich, M25 2SB on Monday 4th September 2023, and will start at 7.30pm. Refreshments will be provided.

There is no mandatory requirement for general public attendance. We trust the AGM will be beneficial for the organisation. Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us at

On Friday 8th September the band held its annual dinner and awards evening This was a fantastic event, where we all got to look back on the successes from the last 12 months, and give thanks to each other for the amazing work done by the players, supporters and organisation as a whole.

Several awards were presented:

- Best attendance, Jacob Hillman

- Most promising recruit, Lisa Thompson

- Seasonal Stalwart, John Jones

- MD’s Bands person of the year, Claire Holt

- Section of the year, Percussion

- Bandsman of the year, Jacob Hillman and Ellie Mead

- Chairman’s award, Ellie Mead

- Most improved player, Sarah Royle

- Special award for outstanding contribution, Bradley Hirst

To name just a few.

MD, James Holt presented the awards and thanked all players and sponsors for their contribution this year.

Coming Soon....

More News Coming Soon

Band Awards 2023

Notice of AGM 2023

Besses Boys' Band achieved prize placing this year at the North West Regional Brass Band Championships of Great Britain held in Blackpool on Sunday 26th February 2023.

This year’s test piece was ‘Pilgrims Progress’ by Rodney Newton and arguably the most challenging piece the band have battled with on the contest stage. Drawn 5th, the band gave a strong performance that featured exceptional solo playing from bands principal Eb Bass, Ellie Mead. Musical Director, James Holt, congratulated the band for doing exactly what he had asked of them, calling it a “great performance” and similar gratitude was received, in the comments, from adjudicators Duncan Beckley and John Doyle which are always helpful in developing skills and techniques unique to the contest stage, as well as shaping the overall band sound.

16 bands competed on the day and the band were pleased to be awarded 5th prize, receiving a glass trophy. Congratulations went to Whitworth Vale & Healey who won the section and both Diggle and Valley brass who achieved 2nd and 3rd prize respectively - all who will be representing the North West later this year at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain held in Cheltenham.

Besses Boys’ Band are delighted to share the stage with the Grenadier Guards brass ensemble in March.

The band was contacted last autumn by the band of the Grenadier Guards as they often do community engagement exercises to showcase opportunities and careers in the army. Besses Boys’ Band chairman Bradley Hirst said: “They want to work with a local groups like ours as we promote music education and offer instrument tuition to young people in the borough. “We have developed some fine musical talent over the years and many who have gone on to careers in British Army Music.

The concert will be held on Saturday, March 25 at Bury Parish Church at 7pm and each band will do a set before joining at the end to perform together. Bradley said: “The Grenadiers are the oldest and one of the most famous military bands in the world so it’s quite a prolific event for us really.”

This isn’t the first time Besses Boys’ Band have done high profile concerts. They have performed all over the world throughout Europe and Australia. They’ve played twice with the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band at Bury Parish Church who are famous internationally and have also performed to Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in 1992 for the opening of Bury's Metrolink station. Bradley added: “The band can’t wait, it’s a good opportunity to showcase talent in the borough, it gets our name out there and it brings world class music to Bury as well.“It also gives people an opportunity to see army bands live which they wouldn’t necessarily see unless they went to London.

”At the concert in March, there will be seats for 400 people, tickets are free, and it is anticipated that they will go quickly.It is stressed that the concert is strictly ticket admission only, to get free tickets click here.

A new generation of young players is being inspired to take up brass banding thanks to their great MD.

Besses Boys' Band recently relaunched their Training Band with a debut performance at a Summer concert of its senior band. The ensemble played two pieces and received a wonderful round of applause from audience members, who fully appreciate the progress the young players had made since May, when many played their first notes.

Besses Boys' have a proud history of nurturing growth and development of young musicians, with the original band started as a feeder ensemble for the famous Besses o' th' Barn Band. Several players who started with them have gone onto enjoy fine musical careers, from top UK bands to professional orchestras and military ensembles.

Speaking about their debut, Musical Director Ellie Mead said: "I'm delighted we have been able to restart the youth programme. Plans to restart in March 2020 were put on hold due to the pandemic so this has been a long time in the making.

It has been great to see the hard work pay off, and to see the new learners gain confidence in playing brass instruments." Ellie added: "The fully inclusive Training Band is registered Band Safe with Brass Bands England and all tutors are fully DBS checked and registered, So we would welcome any new players — boys and girls.

Rehearsals take place at 6.15pm -7.15pm at Lady Wilton Hall in Prestwich, Manchester.

New Generation Starts at Besses Boys'

In concert with the Band of the Grenadier Guards

Notice of EGM 2023

Besses Boys' Band were delighted to lead the parade and service at Prestwich Cenotaph on Sunday 14th November 2021 - Our first engagment since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Hundreds of people attended a moving Remembrane Day Service and the event began with a parade, led by Besses Boys' Band. Crowds followed the band as we marched from the Longfield Suite, down Rectory Lane, to Pados House and it was welcoming to be accompanied by local Councilors, Armed Forces, Veterans, Schools, Scouts and Public Service personnel.

Both young and old turned out to honour the fallen and the last few minutes before 11am were filled with sombre hymns, played by the band, as flag-bearers solemly watched over the Cenotaph. As the clock struck 11, crowds fell silent as the bands Principal Cornet, Claire Holt performed the last post - a truly moving moment followed by a two minutes silence and Revielle.

Political and religious leaders, war vetereans, armed forces, community groups and public service representatives came forward to lay wreaths as the band played Edward Elgar's Nimrod before concluding the service with the National Anthem.

Although the service was allowed to happen this year with no restrictions, the band remained cautious and took all necessary measures to ensure the safety of players and the event was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Following Government guidance and the Brass Bands England statement released on 14th March 2020. Besses Boys’ Band have postponed all planned events due to Coronavirus.

The BBE statement details that the UK Government has updated its guidance to avoid all non-essential contact. As Brass bands are classed as non-essential it was decided that all in person brass band activity is stopped for the foreseeable future. This includes rehearsals, concerts, contests, committee meetings, other group activity and individual lessons.

We will continue to work closely with the BBE and follow their advice on this subject which remains under constant review and we will ensure that our supporters are kept informed on the matter with information as we receive it.

In line with all other bands, our priority is and will remain, the health and well-being of our supporters, members and committee personnel.

An extra-ordinary meeting of Besses Boys' Band has been called to agree a change in constitution and subsequent application to The Charity Commission in order to help protect and support the long-term future of the band. The proposed application, if approved by Trustees, will see Besses Boys' Band become a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Association Charity, registered in England and Wales under Charity Law.

The EGM will take place at Lady Wilton Hall, Simister Lane, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 2SB on Sunday 23rd October 2022, and will start at 10:00.

Attendance is not mandatory for band members however this notice has been published in the spirit of openness and transparency. We trust the EGM will be beneficial for the organisation to gain support in pursuance of this objective in the best interest of the band.

Notice of EGM 2022

Besses Boys' Band Coronavirus Update

Remembrance Sunday 2021

Besses Boys’ Band partnered with Encore Youth Choir at our 2019 Summer Concert.

The bands did a free joint concert for the local community and entertained a full capacity audience and the Worshipful the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council at Prestwich Longfield Suite on Sunday 21st September 2019.

Besses Boys' Band hosted a grand prize raffle as part of our fundraising towards the National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain (2nd Section) final this September in Cheltenham.

Besses Boys' Band compiled prize vouchers from some of the top UK food and entertainment establishments. Plus a plethora of luxury gift hampers, wines, spirits and liquors.

Many local businesses donated gifts to the cause and all prizes were raffled off during a lived streamed grand draw on Friday 9th August 2019.

The raffle was organised by band member Becca Hurst and was a formidable success. The fundraising raffle takes the band one step closer to our appearance at the National Brass Band Championship and we are all looking forward to representing Prestwich, Manchester and the wider community this September at such a prestigious competition.

Besses Boys' Band would like to thank everyone who took part in the raffle for their support.

Besses Boys Band are delighted to share the stage with the National Champion Band of Great Britain, the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.

The Band have been invited to perform at Bury Parish Church on the Rock on Saturday 29th September will the current National Champions.

The Concert will feature a plethora of music and will be a display of quality music and massed band items.

Tickets for the concert are available from the House of the Rock Cafe at Bury Church of by contacting Besses Boys' Band on 07955098659 or alternatively emailing:

Joint Concert with Brighouse & Rastrick

Besses Boys' Band Prize Raffle 

Besses Boys' Band entertain the community

Encore Youth Choir was formed after the Manchester Arena tragedy where a founder member Olivia Campbell – Hardy lost her life. These incredible young people (formerly called Young Voices) have been inspiring the public across the North West of England for eight years and number fifty singers in total covering an age range of 9 to 18.

The choir is led by Katie Geelan, a musician who graduated from Manchester University several years ago. She is charismatic, inspirational and totally committed in giving all her students a lifelong love of music. The standard is testimony to not only her passion but her skill to inspire young people.

The bands finished the afternoon with a massed item encore performing The Greatest Showman which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Besses Boys' Band entertained crowds in their hundreds at their annual Christmas concert on Sunday 16th December 2018.

The free concert held by Besses Boys' Band at the Longfield Suite, Prestwich featured all the festive classics including traditional carrols, pop favourites and the ever popular 12 Days of Christmas and german beirkeller dance the Schneewaltzer.

Besses Boys’ Band receive invitation to attend National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain!

Besses Boys’ Band were delighted to take 2nd place at the North West Regionals Brass Band Contest. The contest took place on the 24th February at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, where the second section took place on the Opera House stage.

Going into the contest, Besses Boys’ Band were feeling the pressure. A section reshuffle last year, in addition to some disappointing results meant that the band faced the stage as competition underdogs, languishing in last position in the table. After enjoying a successful rise to the second section a few years previously, the band wanted to stay in the section and knew that a good performance was necessary.

The piece assigned to the second section was ‘Rise of The Phoenix’ by Darrol Barry. The piece depicts a phoenix reborn from the ashes, with triumphant fanfares and lyrical birdsong melodies. The band received good feedback from the adjudicators, with particularly good feedback for the band soloists. Principal Cornet player Claire Holt, was commended for “play[ing] like a dream”. Besses were also delighted to receive the award for ‘Best Percussion’ for the second year running after a sterling performance by Sam Heath and Ben Attfield.

Besses Boys will be representing the North West in Cheltenham in September 2019. The band has been invited to play at ‘The National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain’, four times in the last decade, so are looking forward to returning later this year. They now embark on a number of fundraising activities to make the trip. The response from friends of the band has been overwhelming so far and Besses Boys’ Band would like to thank them for their generous support in getting to this prestigious contest.

Aarhus Fire Protection are a leading independent specialist supplier of fire safety and security systems.

They provide a range of services from design, supply, installation and maintenance throught the UK.

Aarhus Fire have had a strong relationship with the band over the years and continue to support us as we prepare for the National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain.

BBB 2019 Sponsorship

Besses Boys' Band Qualify for the Nationals 2019!

Besses Boys' Band Christmas Concert 2018

The event was full to capacity with extra tables brought in to accomodate the large audience and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

The event was also boosted with a raffle, tombola and the sale of the brand new BBB merchandise released to celebrate the bands 75th anniversary

The world famous Besses Boys’ Band celebrated their 75th anniversary in style on Saturday night with a gala concert at the prestigious Victoria Hall in Bolton. The MC for the evening was Dave Guest, the presenter of BBC’s North West tonight. The concert featured the current Besses Boys’ Band, a reunion band of ex-players developed by Besses Boys’ Band, some of whom have gone on to perform in professional capacities all over the world. Players came from far and wide and travelled from across Europe and all over the UK to attend the event. The concert was a fantastic celebration of the band’s history and success and allowed members to reminisce about their times in the band and to catch up with old friends to enjoy the evening. In the first half of the concert, the band performed a selection of traditional and modern pieces under the baton of long-serving musical director, James Holt. This included the premiere of a specially commissioned composition “The Beehive”, written by local composer, percussionist and former band member Andrea Price, who was in the audience on the night. Other former band members present on the night included life member Pat Edgar, Brian Hooton, Jim Murray. Each of these former players was presented with a gift from the band in recognition of their respective contributions. During the interval, the audience members had the opportunity to explore an exhibition of band memorabilia, such as instruments, regalia, trophies, photographs, and newspaper articles spanning the last 75 years. The second half of the concert featured a reunion band made up of former members and conducted by the former Musical Director, Steven Sandiford. Mark Wilkinson, who formerly played for Besses Boys’ Band performed the well-known cornet solo, Hailstorm. There followed a presentation to long supporting sponsors, Slattery Pastier and Chocolatiers and Sillett's Funeral Service who have been loyal supporters to the organisation for three decades. The evening was concluded with a rousing massed finale performed by the combined current Besses Boys’ Band and the reunion band; a total of 75 players took to the stage! The band’s Chairman, Bradley Hirst, would like to thank all involved for their support and their contributions to such a successful celebration.

This weekend launched the beginning of the new banding calendar with a trip to Blackburn and Darwen for their annual Hymn and March Contest. The event has become a regular performance for the Boys’ Band, who have attended the contest annually for the last few years. The contest consists of a march through Darwen town, followed by a performance in the market square, which is currently under refurbishment.

On the stand, the band chose to play a rendition of ‘Crimond’ arranged by Geoff Richards, or ‘The Lord’s my Shepard’ for those more familiar with the word setting. This was followed by the march, ‘The Senator’ by George Allen. The band previously had success with this march at the Whit Friday Contest at Carrbrook in Tameside, where they also took away the 2nd section prize.The band were delighted to take away the prize for the winning 2nd Section Band for their efforts.

MD James Holt said “It was a great day at in Blackburn and Darwen today – we always look forward to this event as it as a great start to the banding season! The organisers do a great job to create a community-focused contest for all to enjoy.”

The band will be back rehearsing this evening as they prepare for the forthcoming trio of concerts, featuring guest soprano soloist Nicola Fox (22nd September), Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band (29th September), and for their 75th Anniversary Gala Concert and exhibition (13th October). Tickets and details for all these events can be found on the website at

Besses Boys Band are delighted to share the stage with the National Champion Band of Great Britain, the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.

The Band have been invited to perform at Bury Parish Church on the Rock on Saturday 29th September will the current National Champions.

The Concert will feature a plethora of music and will be a display of quality music and massed band items.

Tickets for the concert are available from the House of the Rock Cafe at Bury Church of by contacting Besses Boys' Band on 07955098659 or alternatively emailing:

BBB Join Forces with Brighouse

Besses Boys' Band Win Second Section at Blackburn & Darwen

Besses Boys' Band 75th Anniversary Celebration

Besses Boys' Band would like to wish all the best to our Solo BBb Bass player, George Mitchell.George joined the band 10 years ago, when he started learning in the Besses Boys' Trainng Band. Now the prinicpal Bass player of the National Youth Brass Band, George has developed into a fine musician and feels it’s the right time to part from the band and take advantage of other opportunities to further his musical career.

George was awarded a Plaque in recognition of 10 years dedicated service to Besses Boys' Band, He has been a great attribute to BBB, especially to our Bass team and the band are sad to see him go.

TicketSource is a free online ticketing system. It was launched in February 2004, and since then, has been used by over 20,000 event organisers and venues of all shapes and sizes throughout the UK. In 2014, shortly after celebrating their 10th anniversary, ticket source also made the service available in the USA and the Eurozone.

Ticketsource are committed to keeping customer booking fees lower than all our major competitors. From the outset, their goal has been to make just enough profit to be a viable business that can sustain top notch customer service, ongoing system development and best practice system security measures, while remaining as competitive as possible for user.­By them making thier profit commission based, they have committed to increasing sales for bands and organizations like ours and this helps us by promoting our events for free and continually optimising the customer journey for our audience.

Besses Boys’ Band recently celebrated the end of the year with an Awards Night and Social for band members and their families. It was a great opportunity for band members to enjoy the highlights, with current and former players celebrating the year. Awards were given to recognise the hard work and contribution of band members over the last twelve months. Vice-Chairperson and Solo cornet player Bradley Hirst won ‘Bandsperson of the Year’. Bradley took on the position of Vice-Chairperson this year, and has proven himself to be a one-man-machine through his dedication to the band and its illustrious heritage. On winning the award, Bradley said “It is a huge reward to take home the bandsperson of the year trophy and be recognised for the hard work that has gone into the organisation this year. There has been lots of change in the last 12 months and a lot of people continue to give up their time and effort to support our band. To be awarded bands person of the year really does mean a lot” Other, more jovial awards were won for clumsiest band member, best (accidental) soloist, and BBB fantasy football league winner.

As it is a special anniversary year for the band, Slattery’s Chocolatier were kind enough to donate a birthday cake. The awards finished with a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for the Besses Boys’ Band.

Full List of Awards

Most Improved Player – Josh Ryan

Most Promising Recruit – Lucy Thomas

Best Attendance Record – Josh Panter           

Services to the Band – Alice Bell               

MD’s Band Member of the Year – Joel Rongong                           

Bandsperson of the Year – Bradley Hirst           

Section of the Year – Flugel & Horns 

Chairman’s Award – Laura Hounsome

Band Service – Eliza Whyman                             

Band Service – Becca Hurst

Band Awards Night 

Besses Boys' Band team up with ticketsource

Fond Farewell to Principal Bass Player 

The band is now auditioning for a new Bass player ahead of their upcoming contest and concert engagements. The band is also auditioning for Cornet players to complete our line up. If you are interested in any of the vacancies, please get in touch with our musical director

Are you a former member of Besses Boys' Band? Have you ever donned the famous jacket? The band this year celebrate our 75th anniversary year. As part of the celebrations the band will be holding a commemorative concert featuring the current Besses Boys' Band and a reunion band. If you would like to play in the reunion band on 13th October, there will be a rehearsal in the afternoon before the concert. Please email your name, instrument, years you played for the band and your current playing commitments to bessesboysband@gmail.comIf you wish to add any music that stirs memories of your time with the band please also include this. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Lady Wilton Hall in Simister looked something akin to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory on Saturday 8th April. The day marked the band’s ‘Chocolate Bingo’ fundraiser, and thanks to the generous sponsorship from Slattery Patissier and Chocolatiers, the prizes did not disappoint the eager families who came to support the event.

Besses Boys' Band will start their 75th anniversary celebrations at the forthcoming Whit Friday march contests. Besses Boys' Band started in 1943 and went onto to win the National Youth Championships Besses Boys' Band will officially launch their 75th anniversary celebrations this weekend at the famous Whit Friday march contests in Tameside and Saddleworth. It will mark the start of a number of different commemorative events and projects over the coming months cumulating in a reunion concert and exhibition in October. The band was conceived during the darkest days of the Second World War by two members of the famous Besses o' th' Barn Band, Fred Cowburn and Nathan Snape. They passionately believed that the way for it to survive was to train young people in musicianship, as the stark reality of wartime service had meant that no less than thirteen senior players left the band during the war years. Initially a 'nursery class' was formed with four lads, Jim Cowburn, Rowland Curless, Harold Galloway and Stan Warburton, but soon grew and was recognised as Besses Boys' Band on October 11th 1943 by the Alex Owen Brass Band Festival Committee. The boys initially played carols in local streets during Christmas before the boys' first official engagement was held in July 1944.They went on to become a pioneering ensemble, winning the National Youth Band Championship of Great Britain on five occasions between 1945 and 1950 before becoming a highly respected adult band. ­A special 75th Anniversary Concert will take place at The Victoria Hall in Bolton in October later this year which will feature the current band and a reunion-massed band, open to all former band members.

BBB March towards 75th Anniversary

Chocolate Bingo Fundraiser

75th Anniversary Year

Over 60 attendees joined in for games of bingo, ‘heads or tails’ and the children’s colouring in competition. There were also cakes, pizza and hotdogs on offer for those who had their fill of chocolate. A record number of thirty prizes were won over the course of the afternoon.

Musical Director, James Holt relinquished the baton for the day with a new starring role as the Bingo Caller – a role he filled with panache and enthusiasm. When asked to comment of the event, he said “It was great to see so many local families, as well as familiar Besses Boy’s Supporters at the event. There was an excellent atmosphere and we raised almost £700 for the band. We would like to thank Slattery’s for their generous support – the donations were spectacular”

After Eight days of back-to-back rehearsals and less than two weeks into 2018. the band travelled to Skegness to participate in the annual Butlin's Mineworkers Contest.​

Performing the compulsory test piece, 'Variations for Brass Band' by Ralph Vaughan Williams, fifteen bands took to the stage in the hope of winning over second section adjudicators, Alan Morris and Paul Andrews. The piece consists of eleven variations which link seamlessly together, each with its own character and complexities, showcasing the different sections of the band. Praise was given to the bass section, singled out by the adjudicators for their sonority and ensemble playing. After a committed performance, band MD James Hold, Commented: "I am absolutely delighted with our performance. Today the band has produced exactly what I asked of them and more. They are a credit to the Besses Boys' Band name and I am very proud to stand in front of them"

The band were placed 6th overall; the Second Section Champions Banner and winners trophy was awarded to Haydock

On Sunday October 29th, the band took part in the annual NWABBA Rochdale Brass Contest, performing Jan de Haan's 'Flashback'. Written in 2009, de Haan's test piece for second section contains many contrasts and complexities; the time invested in mastering these certainly paid off, resulting in a well-executed performance full of light and shade which secured fourth place within the second section. From its opening dance-like passages to the achingly lyrical slower sections, fragmented syncopated phrases to melismatic counter-melodies, there was much to please adjudicator Andrew Warriner, who commented on the effectiveness of dynamics, the balance of the ensemble and success in creating shape at certain key points within the piece. Despite the challenging acoustic of the Town Hall, rhythmic passages were crisp and percussive, punctuated effectively by the silences in between.

Five years ago, the band made their debut entrance into the Second Section at the North West Areas. Since their Third Section win in 2012, the band have always had mixed success at Blackpool, with placings as widely spaced as 15th and 3rd. 2018 was no different, with a lower than expected overall placing (15th) juxtaposing a prize-winning performance from the percussion section. This year’s test piece was ‘Ex Terra Lucem’ by Jonathan Bates. Drawn 16th, the band gave what 4barsrest described as a marker piece. The online brass band media site, who often comment that the band exhibit too much exuberance on the contest stage, reported that it was a “mature performance”, noting a “warm tonality” that was “controlled from the start.” Following their performance, MD James Holt congratulated the band for doing exactly what he had asked of them, calling it a “superb performance”, in particular referring to the muted section, which he described as “outstanding. ”Whilst the adjudicators’ scoring did not always correlate, there was agreement in the awarding of ‘Best Percussion Section’ to Besses Boys Band, following their excellent delivery during the performance. Principal percussionist, Luke Taylor, commented: “The percussion section has seen a number of transitions over the past two years with players coming and going, so it’s really satisfying to be recognised as the best section out of the numerous bands in the second Section performing today. I’m really proud of our team; this prize reflects the close-working relationships, camaraderie and respect that we have for each other, which obviously came across in our performance. ”Over the past 3 years, the band line-up has changed dramatically, introducing many younger players; a number of whom are newcomers to the banding world. With every performance, they are gaining both confidence and experience. The comments made by the adjudicators are always helpful in developing skills and techniques unique to the contest stage, as well as shaping the overall band sound.

Blackpool 2018: Best Percussion Section awarded to Besses Boys' Band 

NWABBA Rochdale Contest 2017

Butlin's Mineworkers Contest 2018