Black Dyke received a wonderful Christmas present at their recent concert in their home town of Queensbury, with the first appearance back in the iconic black, red and gold uniform of bass trombonist Adrian Hirst.
Shortly after the band's Yorkshire Regional Championship win in March earlier this year, Adrian and his wife Karen were involved in a horrific, near fatal motor bike accident. It saw them both seriously hurt and undergo major surgery, with Adrian in particular having to face long road to recovery.
The accident was recently featured on the television programme 'Helicopter ER', which graphically showed just how close the pair had come to losing their lives.
Thanks to the response of the emergency services, including a doctor who, as good fortune would have it, was driving past at the time, the pair were rushed to hospital by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Service.
Adrian who has been a stalwart member of Black Dyke for 25 years recently played again with friends and colleagues Brett Baker and Garry Reed of the Black Dyke Trombone Quartet at a special fund raising event for the Air Ambulance Service, so it was an even more emotional occasion when he joined the pair again to play in the concert Queensbury Parish Church.
Brett Baker told 4BR: "This has been the culmination of Adrian's determination and will power.
He really is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, as well as being a great player, so to have him back with us for this concert was such a huge emotional thrill for everyone in the band."
Director of Music, Prof Nicholas Childs agreed: "We couldn't have asked for anything better to round off the year. Adrian and Karen are wonderful people who have been so dedicated to the band.
The support Adrian has received from all over the brass band world showed what a popular and respected player he is. To hear him once more in the trombone ranks was the best Christmas present everyone associated with Black Dyke could have wished for."
To hear him once more in the trombone ranks was the best Christmas present everyone associated with Black Dyke could have wished forProf Nicholas Childs
In reply and in typical modest fashion, Adrian said: "It was great to play with the band once more after an unfortunate enforced nine month break! I'm convinced that the physical effort involved in getting back in practice has played a major part in my overall recovery — especially my lungs."
Meanwhile, Adrian's daughter Amy added: "The family would like to say a massive thank you to every single person who has been there for us throughout everything.
It means so much to us just how many of you care and have sent well wishes, visited, sent cards, flowers etc. My mother and father are amazing but so are you guys who have helped them through this hard time."