Lockerley Silver BandA Friendly and Welcoming Village Band
Interview with John Wilkins on Sunday 19th June 2016By Mary RogersJohn 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.