Huntingdon man reunited with old cornet

FORTY years ago, David Read entered a prestigious brass band competition – but didn t have an instrument to play. The accomplished cornet player, now widely recognised as one of the best in the country, had left his local band and handed in his borrowed i

FORTY years ago, David Read entered a prestigious brass band competition - but didn't have an instrument to play.

The accomplished cornet player, now widely recognised as one of the best in the country, had left his local band and handed in his borrowed instrument - with the 1968 Great Britain Soloist Championships just around the corner.

Luckily, Horace "Stan" Shadbolt, a kindly colleague at Ramsey Abbey School, was on hand to lend him his 40-year-old cornet and Mr Read went on to win the title Champion Cornet Player of Great Britain.

Now, Mr Read has been presented with the very same instrument (now 80-years-old), which had been passed down to Mr Shadbolt's son, also called Stan, who is principal cornet player for Somersham Town Band.


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David Chambers, musical director of Somersham, made the presentation at a joint concert with the Cambridge University Brass Band.

Mr Chambers: "David is one of the top national and international brass band adjudicators. In fact, he could be described as the Dickie Bird of the brass band world!"

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The surprise presentation was an emotional occasion for Mr Read, who lives with his wife Pat in Arundel Road, Hartford.

He said: "It certainly brought back some memories. It was very emotional."

Originally from Yorkshire, Mr Read's roots are with the Askern Colliery Band and later the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band. He moved to Kettering after serving in the army and joined the famous Munn and Felton's (later GUS Footwear) Band. During his time there, the band won four National Championships and a World Championships at the Royal Albert Hall. As a soloist, Mr Read was crowned Champion Cornet Player of Great Britain three times and was also named outright Solo Champion.

He described the moment Mr Shadbolt Sr lent him the cornet in 1968.

"Stan said I could borrow his cornet. I looked at it suspiciously because it was very old, even then. But I played it and I won. It was very good instrument, just very old - like a Stradivarius of the brass world. It did me proud."

He gave the instrument back to his friend after the competition and was thrilled to be presented with it once again.

He said: "I often see Stan, Horace's son, and I always used to say to him 'Have you still got that cornet?' and he always said 'Yes, I have, I will have to give it to you one day'. When I saw him before the Somersham Town Band concert, I asked him again and he just laughed - I had no idea what they were planning.

"At the end of the concert, they said on stage 'Wait a minute, there's something else...' I was quite surprised when they handed me the cornet and a bit emotional."

Mr Read, who is 75, started his musical career soon after he left school and became a miner, when he was just 15. He is now highly regarded in the world of brass music and will judge the Swiss National Championships in Montreaux, and is due to judge the French National Championships in Paris in January.

He has played at the Royal Albert Hall an astonishing 25 times and said: "It is an incredible experience, playing to five or six thousand people.

"My favourite memory is winning the 1973 Solo Champion competition because that was against everybody, not just the cornet players."

He added: "I have played the old cornet every day since they gave it to me and it is plays very well, even after all these years.

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