The recent death of Ken Hayward (right) at the age of 83, following a succession of debilitating illnesses, has left a significant gap in the important administration fabric that manages brass band circles in Wales and beyond too!
Migrating from Kent to South East Wales during his formative years, Ken became inexorably bound into brass band life, initially as a flexible player but more significantly as a shrewd administrator.
He was persuaded to step into the bright glare of this spotlight by accepting the Presidency of the South East Wales Brass Band Association in the mid 1970’s.
This was at a time when radical change was needed.
Under his astute stewardship, the role of President was broadened and intensified, bringing to the fore scrupulous attention to detail without ever losing focus on the 'bigger picture'.
Be-spectacled and relatively small in stature, his presence and style of leadership were always immense, both in the committee room, where he was an avid and empathetic listener and a positive decision maker who did not suffer fools and also on the contest platform.
It was there that Ken made a profound impression on all who witnessed him in his definitive role as compere keeping contests moving along at a steady pace before effectively managing the Awards and Results ceremonies.
These phases of the contest proceedings showed Ken in his most professional mode – poise, proud, presentational skills, clear and precise diction – essential facets that were ever present, justly confirming his careful preparation for this task, as were dignity and warmth of personality, his vital ingredients for success.
He excelled in this role, sometimes relieving tensions with appropriate extracts from his pocket–size book of funny stories!
His son David has successfully inherited his Dad’s role, so the legacy of poise and style is ensured for the future.
For those that attended the Welcome Ceremony at the European Brass Band Championships held in Cardiff in the mid 1980’s the memory of Ken’s faultless multi-lingual greetings to the visiting bands will be forever etched in their memories.
Besides being the long serving President of the South East Wales Brass Band Association (SEWBBA), Ken also served as Chair of the British Federation of Brass Bands.
He was a Life Member of SEWBBA and not surprisingly also a Life Member of Abergavenny Borough Band, for whom he worked tirelessly and loyally for so many years.
A private cremation was held during the morning of Wednesday 23rd November; followed by a Thanksgiving Service at Abergavenny Baptist Church, where a capacity congregation gathered to celebrate Ken’s life and his many accomplishments.
A retired Head Teacher, a devout Christian and a tireless worker for the benefit of the community were amongst the many other attributes constantly displayed by him during his full and extremely active life.
Warm and appreciative tributes flowed sincerely and readily throughout this service.
In the presence of Mair, his wife of some sixty years and their close family, the service opened to the noble sounds of the Haywards’ Family Brass Ensemble, the final emotional tribute emerging from the mellifluous sounds of the accomplished euphonium soloist - Michael Howley.
Mr Hayward, it was a privilege to have known you; a true gentleman of Brass Bands.
C. Brian Buckley