Death of Harry Mather

The death has been reported of one of the great euphonium players of the 20th century — Harry Mather.

Harry Mather

4BR has been informed of the death of Harry Mather, who passed away on the 28th October age 93.

The best band

Regarded as one of the truly great euphonium players of the 20th century, he was the last surviving member of the famous three times British Open winning Abram (later Bickershaw) Colliery Band; in his words "The best band I ever played for".

Born in 1919, Harry (far left of picture with the famous Foden's quartet) started to play the cornet at age 14 and was tutored by George Ainscough and Harold Moss, before joining Hindley Public Band with cousins, Harry and Ted Gray and Charlie Rushworth. He later joined Abram Colliery on 3rd cornet around 1935, before he joined the armed forces in 1939.


In 1944, the then Bickershaw Colliery Band engineered his release from the Army and he became a noted baritone player with the band under the direction of William Haydock. Later, his playing idol Rowland Jones suggested that he deputise for him on euphonium with Horwich Old Band – and the remarkable impression he made secured his playing future.

He quickly joined Manchester CWS Band under Eric Ball before fulfilling his lifelong ambition in joining Foden’s on solo euphonium. He became a noted soloist and played with the band on their National victory in 1950. He was also a member of the Foden's championship winning quartet along with his cousin Ted Gray.

As a player, Harry had the lot: An outstanding soloist with a quality of sound unsurpassedKeith Hollingshead


He enjoyed further playing spells with Manchester CWS, Cwmbran, Creswell Colliery and John White Footwear, before a proposed move to Black Dyke was curtailed by a successful intervention by James Scott, who persuaded him to join the emerging Cammel Laird Band.

Harry ceased playing at the top level in 1972 and had a short, but successful, conducting career with Port Sunlight British Legion Band.

Had the lot

Personal friend Keith Hollingshead told 4BR: "As a player, Harry had the lot: An outstanding soloist with a quality of sound unsurpassed. Similarly, his band work was of the highest order and was such that his lifelong friend, Geoff Whitham, had no hesitation in placing Harry on his list of all time great euphonium players."

After his playing days, Harry continued to maintain a keen interest in the band movement and was a regular attendee to the band reunions at the famous Navingation Inn in Dobcross.

Family support

Throughout his long musical career, Harry's main supporter was his beloved wife, May, who was happy to up sticks on the many occasions necessitated by his moving to different bands. Harry's two sons, Bill and Mervyn, similarly were always most supportive of their father in his pursuit of musical progress

Keith added: "During Harry Mortimer's many visits to Wigan, he and I were always welcomed to the Mather home where we enjoyed May's excellent cooking and listened to the two Harry's reminiscing about their banding days."

Funeral details

The funeral will be held on Tuesday 6th November at 11.30am at the Lower Ince Crematorium, Ince, Wigan.

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


BBE chief offers robust defence of COVID-19 approach

July 13 • Brass Band England CEO, Kenny Crookston defends the organisation's ongoing work during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dennis Todd

Death of Dennis Todd

July 13 • The death has been announced of one of the most popular players and supporters of the banding movement in the North of England.


Global entry list for Cory on-line contests

July 13 • 71 bands from every corner of the banding globe have entered Cory's on-line entertainment championships.


Radio: Sunday Bandstand

July 13 • Plenty of great music from Chris Helme — including a nod or two of musical respect to the late, great Ennio Morricone.

Black Dyke Band - Cory - Brass on Sunday Gala Concert

Sunday 13 September • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, B12EA

Black Dyke Band - Swiss Nationals Gala Concert

Saturday 19 September • KKL, Europaplatz 1, 6005 Luzern, Switzerland 6000

Contest: scaba Own Choice Test & Hymn tune

Sunday 27 September • The Hawth in Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6YZ

Contest: Swiss National Championships

Saturday 28 November • Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland 1820

Contest: Swiss National Championships

Sunday 29 November • Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland 1820

Amesbury Town Band

July 14 • Players and beginners of any standard are always warmly welcomed especially some more solo cornets and a spare percussionists to help out existing players. Feel free to drop in even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument. After Covid!

Sandhurst Silver Band

July 13 • Due to relocation, Sandhurst Silver Band are looking to fill the following vacancies as soon as we are allowed to resume:. . Principal Euphonium. Front Row Cornet. . We are currently top of the L&SC 1st Section table and have a 2021 tour to Belgium planned

Cheltenham Silver Band

July 9 • Cheltenham Silver Band is a 3rd section band looking for a new Musical Director.. We would like an enthusiastic conductor who will work closely with the band, committee and the training band MD to foster an enjoyable, supportive and creative atmosphere.

John Maines

BA (Hons)
Presenter, compere and conductor


 © 2020 4barsrest.com Ltd