The rise and fall of Skipton Brass in the Championship section. 1989-2001.

Posted on 22nd November 2020 by


During the Lockdown some of our players have been putting together some of their stories of the band. Here is another from Brian Cleaver – who previously wrote about his life as a youngster in banding.


In the 1970s Skipton Prize Band formed close links with local schools, producing a vigorous and thriving Senior and Youth band which laid the foundations between 1977 and 1989 for its rise from fourth section to Championship Section. Much of the credit for this was due to the hard work and dedication of Wilbur Paley.

During this period they were known as Skipton PCA Band (1986-1994) and Skipton Properties Band (1994-2001) and rehearsed at Ermysteads Grammar School in a wooden classroom known as the Scout Hut, in which all the desks and chairs had to be moved, carpets placed on the floor and carpet underlay hung on the walls for every rehearsal. It is believed that this was Wilbur’s classroom.

Whilst in the Championship section they had several MD’s, Andrew McClaughlan (1990-1991); Roy Waite (1993-1997): Howard Lorriman (1997-1998) and Andrew Eastwood (1998-2000).

A blip in this period was demotion to the 1st section during 1996 and 1997, but on both occasions they came 1st and 2nd in the area contest and went through to the finals at Cardiff International Arena and Birmingham Symphony Hall, followed by promotion back to the Championship section.


One of the highlights of this period was the recording in 1998 of a CD, ‘Lets face the Music’ which shows the quality of their playing. Unfortunately following the annual Christmas Concert in 2001 about eight players decided to either stop playing or move on and join other bands, therefore a decision was taken by the remaining players to form a ten piece group, which was successful for several years, but eventually players drifted away and even a ten piece group could not be maintained.

Then c.2005 in stepped Jo and the start of a new era, which continues to this day, perhaps history is repeating itself as we head in an upward spiral under our present MD Jack Smith.

Posted in: Band Blog