The Welsh brass band movement is mourning the loss of one of its most popular players following the news of the unexpected death of Jackie Billings, aged 53.
A member of the Markham & District Band for over 40 years, she was a familiar and popular figure, much respected and loved by those who shared her passion for brass banding.
A spokesperson told 4BR: "Jackie joined the senior band from our junior band in 1983 and formed a wonderful core of the band which returned to competition at the 1984 Welsh Area Championships.
For over 40 years Jackie only had one band — and was proud to return following a short break in 2014 after responding to the phone call from the Chairman to play at the Welsh Area in Llandudno.
She was always such a positive influence, with a wonderful and naughty sense of humour, and although she enjoyed contesting she always said her highlight was playing in the production of Brassed Off in her home town of Blackwood which coincided with her 50th birthday."
Jackie has left a huge hole not only in Markham Band but also in the banding community. Her family and the band have been overwhelmed by the messages that have been receivedMarkham & District Band.
Recently Jackie had enjoyed the fully compliant outdoor rehearsals that the band had organised, and she attended her last rehearsal on Sunday 6th September, where she was her normal fun loving self.
The spokesperson added: "Jackie has left a huge hole not only in Markham Band but also in the banding community. Her family and the band have been overwhelmed by the messages that have been received. Many members of the band knew Jackie all their own lives and were close friends.
Our thoughts are now with her husband Nigel, her two sons Darrel and Alex, her daughter-in-law Amy, her beloved granddaughter Ava-Jayne and her mother and father."