The Rainford Band has a proud history dating back to 1976. From humble

beginnings, the organisation has steadily grown over the years to become the

brass band it is today - widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest.

The Early Days

In 1976, members of the local Boys’ Brigade held a public meeting to discuss the idea of forming a new brass band in the village of Rainford. It quickly became clear that this was a popular idea, and with an encouraging number of prospective members eager to sign up, it was agreed that the new band should come into being.

It was the inspirational captain of the 1st Rainford Boys’ Brigade, Alf Webster, who was behind the setting up of the original brass band, and it was his officers; Tony Brown, David Roughley and Ken Wesley, who drove the ‘Rainford Silver Band’ project forwards.

Taking the time to build a solid membership, it spent some years as a ‘non-contesting’ band before eventually entering its first competition at Oldham’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1979, performing Reginald Heath’s musical reimagining of Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’.

Some talented musicians led the band in its early days. William Lyon, Musical Director of the Skelmersdale Prize Band at the time, was Rainford’s first tutor, followed then by William Horrocks, Albert Atherton, Ken Heaps and Geraint Jones.

It was under the leadership of Colin Moore that Rainford experienced its first taste of contesting success. The most notable result of his immense 21-year tenure as Musical Director came in 1991, when the band achieved Second Place in the 3rd Section National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain (held in Kensington Town Hall).


Construction of the ‘Bandroom’ & The First ‘Summer Pops’

Following Colin’s departure, Steven Pendlebury and Brian Harper took the band for short periods. In 1996, during Pendlebury’s tenure as Musical Director, the construction of Rainford Band’s own bespoke rehearsal facility was completed, following significant work behind the scenes from the band’s inspirational Chairman at the time, Linda Mawdesley.

During the fundraising stages of the bandroom project, the community of Rainford demonstrated immense help and generosity, raising the majority of the band’s thirty thousand pound contribution towards a larger National Lottery grant.

After the departure of Brian Harper, the highly regarded Malcolm Brownbill took the helm for an interim period. Whilst leading the band, Malcolm was instrumental in inaugurating the successful ‘Summer Pops’ concert series at White House Farm, Rainford, which have been held there every year since. His tenure also included the band’s appearance at the 1998 Northwest Area Contest, held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Into the new Millennium

In 1999, the experienced conductor and educator Lynda Nicholson took the band to a series of notable successes in the Third Section, establishing a solid base for future development. During her time with the band, Lynda also fostered a close link between Rainford and her other musical organisation at the time, St Helens Youth Brass Band – a link that has remained strong ever since.

After Lynda’s departure in 2002, and a brief interim period with former MD Brian Harper, the young ex-Leyland trombonist Neil Samuel was given the opportunity to take the baton at Rainford. Over a period of 10 years Neil drove Rainford to its greatest contesting successes, rising up through the competitive sections to earn “Championship” status for the first time in the band’s history.

Promotion to Championship Section

In early 2013, Gareth Brindle, a former Black Dyke baritone soloist, took on the Musical Director responsibilities full-time following Neil’s departure, after serving for just over a year as the band’s Associate Conductor.

It was under Gareth that Rainford made its Championship Section debut, their rendition of Philip Sparke’s ‘Harmony Music’ placing 5th amongst some strong competition. Since then, the band has made a number of strides on the contest stage, most notably at the ‘Spring Festival’ competition in Blackpool, where they took just 3 years to rise through the sections and qualify to perform in the ‘Grand Shield’, a contest that sees some of the country’s best brass bands compete for an invitation to the British Open Championships in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

In 2019, after 6 successful years as Musical Director, Gareth announced that he was to leave the band to pursue new challenges. In his last contest with the band, he led Rainford to its highest ever placing at the Grand Shield (7th) following a convincing rendition of Thierry Deleruyelle’s evocative testpiece ‘Fraternity’.

Looking to the Future

Following a placing of 2nd at the First Section National Finals under the expert guidance of guest conductor, Dr. David Thornton, the band announced that the multi-faceted Sarah Groarke-Booth was to be its new Musical Director.

Sarah is enthusiastic to build upon the recent successes of the band and reinforce Rainford’s reputation as one of the country’s leading brass ensembles. Alongside her, the organisation as a whole is looking forward with confidence and enthusiasm to all of its future endeavours.

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Band 1987