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    

Edward Gregson

Gregson to featured on BBC

January 16 • Edward Gregson will be the featured as 'Composer of the Week' on BBC Radio 3 later this month.


Back dated trophies for Cory

January 16 • Cory has finally got its hands on long awaited awards for being the world's number 1 ranked band.


Draw made for World Music Contest

January 16 • The draw has been for the brass band competitions at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade later this year — with bands from the UK to Japan in the line-ups.

Bone afide

UniBrass Gala leads with trom attractions

January 16 • Performances by Dennis Rollins, the Bone-afide trombone quartet and Friary Brass Band will entertain the audience at the UniBrass Gala Concert.

Black Dyke Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 15 January • Queen Street, Morley, Leeds LS27 9DY

Black Dyke Band - Marlborough College

Sunday 16 January • Bath Road, Marlborough, . SN8 1PA

Glossop Old Band - Arnfield Brass.

Sunday 16 January • Glossop Band Club, Derby Street, Glossop. Sk13 8LP

Glossop Old Band - Cadishead Public Band

Sunday 23 January • Glossop Band Club, Derby Street, Glossop. SK13 8LP

Contest: 168th British Open

Sunday 23 January • Symphony Hall, Broad Street, Birmingham. B1 2EA

Shrewsbury Brass Band

January 15 • Are you looking for a change of scene or want to get back into banding with an ambitious and hardworking band? We have a vacancy for an experienced front row cornet player, BBb Bass player, and 2 percussionists.

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band

January 15 • A vacancy exists for a capable and committed **EEb BASS PLAYER ** to join the band as it establishes itself in the third section.

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band

January 15 • A vacancy exists for a capable and committed **BBb BASS PLAYER ** to join the band as it establishes itself in the third section.

Neil Samuel



 © 2022 4barsrest.com Ltd