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Besses o' th' Barn Band
Company Sergeant Major Joseph Birkett DCM
240883 2/5th East Lancashire Regiment
Lived at 49 Marlborough Street, Burnley
The Burnley Express of 16 August 1919 reported:
BURNLEY BANDSMAN'S D.C.M. PRESENTED.
The Distinguished Conduct Medal was presented on Saturday last, at Fulwood Barracks, Preston, to ex- Company Sergeant-Major J. Birkett, 1/5th East Lancashire Regiment (Burnley Territorials). Ex-C.S.M., Birkett, who is now demobilized, and resides at 49, Marlborough Street, Burnley, enlisted on October 9th, 1914, in the 2/5th East Lancs. He first got the information of his honour through the columns of the "Burnley Express," on June 4th, 1919, when we published the honours and awards list from the London Gazette, dated June 3rd, 1919. The Depot Colonel at Preston presented him with the medal as stated, the following regiments being represented on the parade, about one company in strength; East Lancashire Regiment, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, one battery R.F.A., and a small detachment of A.S.C.
Beaverbrooks the Jewellers has made a generous charitable donation to Besses o’ th’ Barn Band of Whitefield, North Manchester. The Lancashire based high street chain founded in 1919 is exactly 101 years younger than the band. Both have become beloved Lancashire and British institutions. The donation was made towards Besses’ programme of encouraging young musical talent, especially from families where there has been no tradition of instrumental playing. Part of the money will go towards the costs of new music stands and other essential equipment.
Besses o’ th’ Barn is one of the oldest and most famous brass bands in the world. It has played for kings, queens and emperors and has won both the British National and British Open brass band championships many times. Spokesman for the band, Dr Yaakov Wise said: “We are extremely grateful to Beaverbrooks, the North’s favourite jewellers, for their support. One great Lancashire organisation is supporting another. It’s very good of them to be so concerned about ensuring the future of our brass band heritage in the region.”
Further information from Dr Yaakov Wise on 0161 720 9588 or 07962 597 935
18 year old cornet soloist Dovid Friedlander played an important part in cementing good relations between the Republic of Poland, Jewish communities in the UK and the State of Israel recently. The Besses o’ th’ Barn rising star played the Polish national anthem and a minuet by Ignacy Paderewski, the world renown Polish pianist, composer and statesman, at a recent diplomatic function in Prestwich, North Manchester. Lukasz Lutostanski, the Polish Consul-General in Manchester had arranged a private dinner at the JS kosher restaurant to explore improving relations between Poland and the Anglo-Jewish communities following the official opening of the Museum of Polish-Jewish history in Warsaw.
The guest of honour was Piotr Puchta, Director of African and Middle Eastern Affairs in the Foreign Ministry who gave an insight into new Polish-Israeli trade and technology agreements. In rely, Dr Yaakov Wise of Manchester University and a Besses committee member himself, recalled the 800 years history of the Jews in Poland before the Holocaust and paid tribute to the Polish Pope, John Paul II, who by his personal example had done much to establish good relations with Jewish communities throughout the world and helped to defeat communism in eastern Europe.
MANDATORY PICTURE CREDIT: LAWRENCE PURCELL
Besses Band’s two Christmas carol concerts went down a storm this year. Both the Saturday night concert on 6th December at Bolton’s magnificent Victoria Hall and the Sunday 7th December afternoon concert at the Civic Suite in Radcliffe received rapturous applause from the delighted audiences including a standing ovation from many enthusiastic, local residents. In scenes reminiscent of the hit film ‘Brassed Off,’ the audiences cheered, whistled and called for more. At the Victoria Hall concert the band was joined by the Bolton Cancer Voices Choir and at Radcliffe by the very well-rehearsed and organised Affetside Village Choir from Bury.
The Radcliffe Concert concluded with a special presentation to the band’s long-standing, retiring honorary treasurer Violet Hughes.
Besses Band has recently gone through rejuvenation with a completely new management committee with several high quality players joining. Band spokesman Dr Yaakov Wise said, “The success of the two carol concerts is entirely the result of sheer hard work and the professionalism of every member of the band. Together with our recent successes in competitions means Besses is back on top form and determined to keep on entertaining Lancashire audiences for many years to come.”