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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.



Milford Haven Town Band

It all started in 1970 when local businessman Jack Haggath, a Yorkshire man and Managing Director of the engineering company Elfed Williams Ltd (based at Thornton trading estate Milford Haven) decided to start a brass class at Milford Haven Upper Central School, along with Miss Enid Powell, Headmistress and Head of Music at the school.

Jack, an accomplished Trombone player, who trained with the Salvation Army, was a member of a local dance band, City Gents Six [do you remember them folks?]. Together with Enid they began purchasing instruments through the education authority, which were outnumbered by the number of students interested in joining.

Things picked up pretty quick - even Jack's own son John and daughter Jayne joined the school band to swell the numbers. It was funny in those days, we had to share the instruments and a big bottle of dettol!!! Two of the original players still play with the band, Wendy Prettyman - sorry Barnett, and myself, Jeff Bourne.

In 1973/74 Jack asked Milford Haven council for some money to start up a Town Band, this they welcomed this with great enthusiasm. If my memory serves me correctly, the sum was about 3000, so we purchased some instruments; a few music stands and some Tune-a-Day books [remember them folks?] So the plan was to advertise in the local Guardian [remember that Tabloid?] for any one interested in starting a new hobby playing a brass instrument and reviving a Town Band, with training given free of charge and a very warm welcome for experienced players. The venue was to be the committee room at the Hubberston Youth Club.

The Milford Haven Town Band was born. The interest was very good but we were limited at first due to the lack of instruments. Click here to see a list of the founder members.

It was hard work trying to get people not only to learn a brass instrument but to learn to read music as well; we even had practices on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings at the Murray suite.

As the years went by we picked up in numbers and gained more instruments and music [red hymn books] and uniforms, which style and colour we have stayed with for the time being; all of the above purchased through donations and concerts. One of the band members' wife, Mrs Joan Wallace, kindly gave her time and skills and made drapes for the stands which we are still using now (2003). Speaking of wonderful ladies, the two who gave up their time to provide the players with their 'cup of tea and a bickie' were Mrs Prettyman and her friend Trish - great friends of the Band and Honorary members.

In 1977 the band had its first big downfall, with the sad loss of its musical director, Jack Haggath, who died from cancer at the age of 44. Jack had worked relentlessly to bring music back into the lives of so many, and for this we are eternally grateful to him and his family.

The new conductor's job was up in the air and was shared about for about 6 months or so, and then there was light at the end of the tunnel. The music teacher from Milford Grammar School, Mr Paul Thomas was asked to take up the challenge of conducting the band, a trombone player himself, he accepted.

In February of 1978 the band made a BBC recording in St Katherine's church for 'Songs of Praise'. Two weeks later our solo cornet player John Haggath was killed in a motorcycle accident. The Haggath family were split within twelve months or so of their father's death - another fine dedicated player we will never forget.

In 1979 Paul took us to our 'Twin Town' of Romilly-Sur-Seine, France, which was a great success. Later that year we performed our first contest in Ebbw Vale, with the test piece being 'Salute to Youth'. We came 7th out of 14 bands.

Neil Martin took over from Paul in the early eighties as Paul took on a teaching post away from the town. Neil did not stay long at the baton, only a year or two, but took the band to a few contests. The reigns of the band were caretakered by John King whilst a new conductor was being hunted. We came up trumps with Mr

Charles Ranstead - an accomplished cornet player in his own right. We had many happy years with Charles until sadly he became very ill and passed away, another great servant of the band gone but not forgotten.

John King took the helm once again to help out whilst we searched for a new conductor, which came in the shape of Mr Graham Lane, an ex-RAF Central Bandsman. We had hit the jackpot! The only foreseeable problem was the travelling involved, from Aberaeron to Milford Haven. This was a big ask but he did not mind.

Graham's enthusiasm, knowledge and professionalism brought the band on leaps and bounds. We were getting more popular around the county, including at RAF Brawdy Officers' and Sergeants' Messes, where we still perform regularly.

In the early 90's we lost a couple of founder members, Mr Mike Wallace and Mr John King, who got us through tough times - through the early years. They were both very good and loyal bandsmen - they will never be forgotten.

In 1994 Graham took the band to New Hampshire, USA, to a town called Milford, where they were celebrating their 200th birthday. We were a great success and made a lot of good friends. We also teamed up with the Amherst Band, Milford NH, who have made return visits to Milford Haven. In 2000, Graham took us back to Milford NH, again to an overwhelmed audience.

Sadly in 2002, Graham called it a day as Musical Director and decided to hang up his baton [I think he ran out of jokes to our relief - only joking Graham]. Graham, you were a dedicated and committed bandsman - you served the band well and improved the standards of the band so much we are forever busy with concerts and carnivals - our many thanks.