This page was last updated on: 23/3/2018
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BILLY ELLIOTT
President                                                                                                                                Rt Hon Tony Blair (ex - PM)

Tony Blair was born 6th May 1953 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was educated at the Durham Choristers School in Durham and at Fettes College in Edinburgh. He received a law degree in 1975 from St. John's College, Oxford University. He began practising law the next year after being admitted to the bar. 

Tony Blair first ran for Parliament as a Labour Party candidate in 1982. He joined the House of Commons the following year, winning the seat at Sedgefield, near to the village of Fishburn. Tony Blair held that seat through the 1980s and 1990s until his resignation in 2007.

After initially serving as a Labour Party spokesman on treasury matters, and then on trade and industry affairs, Tony Blair was appointed shadow energy secretary in 1988. He was named shadow employment secretary in 1989 and shadow home secretary in 1992. The party elected him to its National Executive Committee in 1992. 

The Labour Party elected Tony Blair as its leader in 1994. Then 41 years old, he was the youngest-ever head of the Labour Party. He replaced John Smith, who had died earlier in the year after leading the party for two years.   Tony Blair's youthful, energetic speaking style, is credited with contributing to the Labour Party's steadily climbing popular support. 

Tony Blair married Cherie Booth, a fellow trial lawyer, in 1980.   Fishburn Band are very proud and honoured to have the Rt Hon Tony Blair as their President.


Vice President                                                                                                                                                         Billy Elliott

This is the 'REAL Billy Elliott'!  

Billy is a founder member and Secretary of Fishburn Band's supporters Group who, with the support of the community of Fishburn, provide the much needed backing for the Band.  Billy follows the Band everywhere often travelling away to contests proudly wearing his coveted Band uniform.

Billy's father George, was one of the two men (along with the late Micky Terrans) who was responsible for the setting up of the original 'Fishburn Colliery Welfare Band' in the early 1950's and Billy has more than ensured the ongoing future of the Band.  Billy loves to get involved in the 'banter' with whoever is conducting the band at our regular concerts in the Fishburn Workingmens Club often leading to hilarious results.
TONY BLAIR
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Paul Brickle

Helen Usher

Mal Usher

Audrey Gill

Ronnie Bannister (see profile below) 

Stewart Wilson (see profile below)

Len Potts (see profile below)

Mal Usher

Jackie Littlewood

Jayne Bateman

Paul Kerry

David Conway

Abigail Groocock
Band Trustee                                                                                                               Stewart Wilson

Stewart joined Fishburn Band in 1969 having been taught to play whilst at Bowburn Secondary School (otherwise known as the Martin Borman Comprehensive for wayward boys and girls). 

Playing influences over the years have included Trevor Groome, Peter Lord and his music teacher David Whittaker, who actually saw some good in the boy, taking him and others just like him under his wing.  David Whittaker helped develop his and others' hidden musical skills, steering them onto the path of righteousness as they say, which allowed Fishburn to become the beneficiaries when he was one of seven young players to join the band in 1968-69.  The injection of young and eager talent helped establish the band as a fighting force and became one of the up and coming bands in the 70's.  

As a fourteen year old Stewart watched Maurice Murphy perform at the Royal Albert Hall playing a Cornet Concerto with massed bands, and from that moment on he was hooked and so began his love affair with banding.  Throughout the years he was one of the members of the band to continually play as it rose through the sections from the fourth to the Championship Section playing exclusively on euphonium from the age of sixteen.  This culminated in one of his ambitions being achieved, playing Solo Euph at the Royal Albert Hall in 1980 where the Band gained a creditable 11th position on Wilfred Heaton's 'Contest Music'.  

With the passage of time most of his ambitions have now just about been realised, and though time has been kind in some respects, he still as three ambitions left:  
(1) To walk out of Durham's Miners Gala sober (no hope there)!  
(2) To pilot a battlecruiser off the shoulder of Orion (strange boy) and, 
(3) To die after Ron Bannister because "I think we'll have to shoot that bugger!"  (Keep it up Ron).  

It is now Stewart's goal to help others achieve the dream, and to assist Fishburn in any way he can.  A hard working Trustee and all round good guy(!), Stewart is renowned for being thorough in any task he carries out - and believe me, his rates are very cheap!


Band Trustee                                                                                                                 Ronnie Bannister

Ronnie started life in Trimdon Station and has lived in Sedgefield for a number of years. Taught to play by Fred and Alan Cuthbert in the Savation Army, He played in Deafhill Colliery band from 1949 to 1958 before joining Fishburn in 1958 and is the band's longest serving member although he now 'officially' is a playing member of Murton band but keeps a very close liaison with Fishburn Band.  Ronnie was at one time the band's Principal Cornet before moving onto Eb Bass via the Tenor Horn.  Ronnie also played in dance bands in the 1950's.

In February 2000 Ronnie was presented with his Durham County Brass Band League '50 years in banding' award.  During his time with the band, Ronnie has seen some huge changes.  In 1972 whilst in the Fourth Section, the band became Champion Band of Great Britain and Ronnie was 'instrumental' in helping Fishburn climb the sections before achieving Championship Section status in 1980 where we've remained ever since.

Ronnie lists Jim Shepherd as one of his main playing influences and King of Y's as his favourite piece of Band Music, remembering that he heard a brilliant performance of it by Crookhall Colliery in the Area Contest.  In addition to listening to Brass Band music, he also enjoys listening to Country music, listing his favourite country Artiste as John Aston, who is also a friend of Ronnie's.

Ronnie recalls an amusing occurrence when marching with the Band a number of years ago at Bishop Middleham when half the Band split down the middle and went the wrong way at a junction. Half of the band marched down the bank with the other half marching along the top road - You couldn't make it up!

Ronnie has had a varied employment career prior to his retirement from Coal Miner to Cokeworker to Nurse Assistant and has also worked part time at Sedgefield Racecourse.  His main hobby other than banding is playing Golf, watching Football, Horseracing and Cricket, and Linedancing.  His favourite Football teams are Newcastle United and Hartlepool United (What taste!)  Married to Angela, the next generation of Ronnie's family have also played with Fishburn - daughter Sue on Flugel Horn and ex-son-in-law Clive on Euphonium.  Ronnie's twin brother Joe is also a Bandsman, playing Euphonium


​Band Trustee                                                                                                                                Len Potts

​Len started playing cornet at age 13 years with Easington Salvation Army and had a brief spell with Easington Colliery Junior Band before moving to Langley Park. At age 15 he joined Mainsforth and Tursdale Workshop Band (now Ferryhill Town Band) as 'cover' for his father, Jack. However it wasn't too long before Len was the band's Solo Horn.

  In 1980 Len became a member of Fishburn Band, on 1st Horn, but it wasn't long before he displayed his talent for turning his hand to whatever instrument was required for that particular contest, all for the good of the band - Eb bass, Bb bass, cornet (who can forget Len's contribution on that infamous long-note while on the back row for Land of the Long White Cloud at Whitehaven) and percussion (Len usually saves his percussion playing for the big occasion - 3 x London Finals)!!

For many years Len was Secretary of Fishburn Band and a very active Committee member. During his time as a member of the Band, Len was always a hard working and dedicated bandsman and, along with Kevin Franey and Mal Usher, took on the thankless task of transporting equipment (stands, music, percussion etc) from one venue to another.  

Len moved to Ferryhill Town Band in 2008 and has been successful in his new position of.... Soprano Cornet! very versatile!

Len's family are also members of Ferryhill Town Band - wife Barbara on cornet, Andrew (son) on Principal Cornet and Lisa (daughter) on cornet.


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Fishburn Band Officials
e-mail Ronnie