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Mr Betteshanger

Published in Band News on 2014-01-10 by Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band

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Ivor Thomas 1924 – 2014

The Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band are extremely sad to announce the passing of their President and EEb Bass player, Ivor Thomas.

The band would like to pay their musical respects to one of the greatest players to have graced the ranks of the Deal based brass band.

Ivor was a true bandsman in every sense of the word. He was an inspiration and fine example to all who met him.

He will be deeply missed by us all and we send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Doreen, and children Diane, Susan and Ian at this very sad time.

Ivor Thomas 19th September 1924 – 5th January 2014

It has been said that Ivor was playing in brass bands before the ballpoint pen had been invented & Instant coffee was still science fiction. Ivor was the longest serving member of the Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band and this is a record which is unlikely to ever be beaten. He also represented the last of the men who both actually dug at the coal face and played in the band in the evenings. As such, he marks the end of an era.

Born in Ystrad Mynach, South Wales, Ivor was very young when he moved to Aylesham in Kent with his family. He accompanied his father, joining the Aylesham Mission Band in the early 1930’s. His Father was later offered a position on Trombone with Betteshanger Colliery Band and this was accompanied by the offer of a job at Betteshanger Colliery, along with a house in Douglas Road, Deal.

Ivor was often heard telling the story of the time he first auditioned for a place in the Betteshanger Band on Flugel Horn aged 13. No one could, or would even want to escape Ivor’s tales, they were truly exhilarating.

Many aspiring players have benefited from Ivor’s knowledge of brass, and the banding movement in general.

He was legendary for his remarkable perseverance in maintaining a full membership, even if it meant poaching the odd player or three! His life was long, well lived, and magnificently filled with extraordinary music.

In 2011, Ivor was presented with an 80 year certificate from the Southern Counties Amateur Bands Association in recognition of his service to the Brass Band movement. The band also presented him with a figure of a miner made from coal and engraved ‘Ivor Thomas - for Services to Betteshanger Colliery Band 1937-2011.’

He was a superb player, musician and bandsman whose example of dedication was shown in everything that he undertook. Members of Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band are proud and privileged to have known Ivor who has always been known as “The Figurehead” of the band.

Musical Director, John Goold said "Everyone at Betteshanger was saddened to hear of the death of Ivor Thomas, he was a great motivator and will be sorely missed by the band and the wider brass band community. He was a great friend of the late Walter Hargreaves who first conducted the Betteshanger Band back in the 1950’s.

Ivor was Betteshanger Band, he was a true stalwart to the brass band movement. He will be greatly missed by everyone."

We will finish rehearsal early on Monday to reminisce about the life of this great player and remind everyone of the contribution he made to the band. We will pay tribute to him by performing his favourite hymn “Aberystwyth” in his memory.

Funeral arrangements

The Funeral Service will take place at Barham Crematorium, near Canterbury on Monday 27th January at 11.20 a.m.

The family has requested no flowers, donations if desired to Ivor’s favourite pastime - Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band, c/o J. Dilnot Smith & Son, 184 Gladstone Road, Walmer, Deal. Kent. CT14 7EL

At the conclusion of the service, the family would like to extend an open invitation to join them back in Deal, at the Betteshanger Welfare Sports & Social Club, Cavell Square. This will give family, friends and acquaintances the chance to celebrate the life of Ivor together.

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