The death has been announced of Betty Anderson, one of the pioneering women of the 20th century brass band movement. She died following a period of illness on 8th January aged 88.
Born in 1929, she followed in the footsteps of her father in becoming a tenor horn player with the Leicester Imperial Band and was soon known as a fine performer and soloist, competing at the All England Solo Championships where she won the tenor horn prize in 1947.
She later presented a trophy in memory of her father at the National Solo Championships of Great Britain- winning it herself on two occasions.
As early as 1956 she took up the baton, first with Leicester Imperial and then with the Kibworth Band in 1964.
She later conducted the Ratby Band with great success — rising from the Fourth to Championship Section in just six years and culminating in winning the Grand Shield in 1978. No less than thirteen of the players who won that contest had come from the organisation's junior band which Betty started just five years previously.
That result meant that later that year she became the first woman to conduct a band at the British Open Championship at Belle Vue.
She retired from conducting Ratby in 1982 but her interest in youth banding in particular saw her become a highly respected Chairperson of the National Youth Band of Great Britain from 1974 to 1994. Betty was also a respected adjudicator, officiating at the Fourth Section National Finals in 1994.
She was awarded the Mortimer Medal in 2002 and in 2013 received the Dedicated Service Award from the National Association of Brass Band Conductors.
Lesley Bentley, the Secretary of the Leicestershire Brass Band Association told 4BR: "Betty was a true pioneer — a wonderful musician and person. She was also for many years a mentor and friend to many bands in Leicestershire and for over 20 years was the President of the Leicestershire Brass Band Association.
Many young players owe their training and interest in brass bands to this remarkable woman. Her lasting legacy is the fine condition of brass banding in the East Midlands."
Many young players owe their training and interest in brass bands to this remarkable woman. Her lasting legacy is the fine condition of brass banding in the East MidlandsLesley Bentley
The funeral will be held at Great Glen Crematorium on Monday 29th January at 1.30pm and afterwards at Scraptoft Golf Club. Her family would be very pleased to see as many brass band people there as possible.
A request has been made for no flowers but any donations to The Alzheimer's Society would be very much appreciated.