"It was a tremendous surprise. Just being part of the band has always been good enough for me. It was a honour and I feel quite humble."
These were the words of Sam Knox, a legend of Whitburn Band after he was presented with a commemorative quaich to mark 70 years of being an active part of the organisation.
When Sam played his first notes with Whitburn, King George VI was on the British throne — and his first musical experience came after he heard a brass band playing in the hall of the local pigeon racing club. From then on he was hooked.
"I was given an Eb Bass," he told 4BR: "I took it down the road, and my mother nearly had a fit when she saw this big clarty instrument."
Sam soon reverted to the cornet and in 1954 was part of the Whitburn Band that won the Third Section National title — remaining a key component of the band as they went on to become a top flight force under the likes of Major Peter Parkes in the 1980s and 1990s.
He became a Scottish Champion with Whitburn for a remarkable 13th time in 2008 — 40 years after his first triumph, and today at the sprightly age of 84 he still plays with Whitburn Heartlands Band4BR
He became a Scottish Champion with Whitburn for a remarkable 13th time in 2008 — 40 years after his first triumph, and today at the sprightly age of 84 he still plays with Whitburn Heartlands Band, passing on his considerable knowledge to the younger generation of cornet players as they make their way in the banding world.
He added: "I would be lost without the band. I lost my wife in January and the band has helped to keep me sane.
As I still play with Heartlands, I still have to practice and it keeps the mind active. If I had my time again, I would do the same thing again.
It has been a tremendous way of life. I have enjoyed every single minute of it."