There is no official history of the band and what is shown here has been painstakingly compiled by Richard Taylor. If you know anything at all about the history of Lockerley Band, we would love to hear from you so please do contact us.
Interview with John Wilkins on Sunday 19th June 2016
By Mary Rogers
John Wilkins was born in 1928 at Newbridge (near Copythorne) and his parents were not musical. John joined Cadnam band aged 10 because his friend at Copythorne School (who lived at Pollards Moor) had told him about it. John went along and was put on the cornet. He was taught by Frank Lovell (bandmaster), and John received lessons in Frank’s kitchen. Frank was Marion Bungay’s father. The band room was a hut next to the White Hart pub in Cadnam. John wasn’t particularly comfortable on the cornet, and so moved onto E flat bass which he has played ever since, except for switching to B flat bass for the occasional contest.
Cadnam managed to keep going through WW2 because it’s members were rather elderly. They played for Wings for Victory Week, “Buy a Tank”, and “Buy a Spitfire” fundraising events, and John remembers one occasion when they played on the march for 5 miles all around the Cadnam area to raise money for the war effort. John doesn’t remember when Cadnam Band folded, but it was because most members were too old to keep going. The band’s instruments were dispersed; Marion got one, her brother had some, and John Wilkins got one old E flat bass. Cadnam didn’t have much sheet music but John was given the Wright and Round books which were handy for 10-12 players if numbers were short. Useful pieces included the march Staunch and True, and the little waltzes Humpty Dumpty and Heartsease.
After leaving Cadnam, John didn’t play until joining Lockerley in 1955. Another ex- Cadnam player had joined Lockerley and asked John to come along and after 2 years, John went and filled the E flat bass vacancy, playing alongside Walter Sillence (Charlie’s dad) who also played E flat bass. At the time, many of Lockerley’s players were Baptists and Methodists. John also played E flat bass with Michael Pritchard (Isaac Pritchard’s grandson). John later became the bandmaster and then returned to playing E flat bass. His daughter Joan played the tenor horn, as did her mother Joyce. When John joined in 1955, there were not any women in the band, but they needed a tenor horn player for an event, and so after some serious soul searching, Joyce was allowed to play. Joyce Wilkins died in 1985.
An old drum which used to be in the bandroom had words painted on it saying that Lockerley Band was established in 1880.
David Moody (the elder) lived opposite the King’s Arms in Lockerley and visited the bandroom every day to look at the music. He played all the instruments in Lockerley Band, especially the cornet, and also played the E flat bass. He was in an army band in WW1 (based in the UK somewhere) and played for long marches - 8 miles in the morning and 8 miles in the afternoon, which was preferable to doing cooking duties. David was actually a market gardener near Carter’s Clay. He worker at the Dean ammunition dump in WW2. He had a son, also called David, who played in Lockerley Band too.
The conductor of the 13/07/46 contest A. Halestrap just came for that occasion.
D. Judd of the 16/06/62 contest was a guest conductor from Shaftesbury Town Band. He was an old farmer from Sixpenny Handley.
Marion’s husband Bob Bungay played E flat bass in Lockerley band.
At some point (before John was bandmaster) the vicarage was to be sold and the band got one month’s notice to leave the bandroom. David Moody (the elder) was the bandmaster The band had always played for the village fete for free, but hadn’t paid any rent. Joyce said that the band had squatters’ rights as they had been there for over 25 years. The church gave the room to the Parish Council with the understanding that the band could continue rent free.
At one concert, held at Lockerley Memorial Hall in the late 1970s, costume was required. John Wilkins wanted to dress up in a Turkish outfit and was advised by his wife Mary (who was a dress maker) that the red sheer material he planned to make into an exotic robe could not simply be put together quickly. John persevered and decided to make it himself with the use of the sewing machine, adding a home made fez to complete the look. At the concert John changed in the kitchen, removing his trousers and putting on the exotic costume before walking on to conduct. The audience erupted into gales of laughter as the stage lighting shone straight through the flimsy material and revealed more than John had bargained for!
Ernie Sillence (some relative of Charlie) died in the bandroom while playing The Acrobat (Greenwood) on the trombone. John Wilkins was conducting.
Charlie Sillence (solo cornet, not M.D.) had a stroke (roughly in the 1980s).
Conductor Chronology Since 1978
H. Stockwell finished in around 1978.
David Moody (the elder who was Edwin’s son) took over and conducted from about 1978-1984.
They got down to about 11 players at one point.
Joe Allan conducted for about one year in around 1985.
John Wilkins took over as M.D. in about 1986 and continued until about 2008.
Richard Taylor took over in around 2008.
Mary Rogers 20/06/2016