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Death of Graham Furnell

The death has been announced of the highly respected Pemberton Old Wigan bandsman Graham Furnell.

  The death has been announced of Graham Furnell.

The death has been announced of the highly respected bandsman Graham Furnell. He passed away following a long battle against cancer on Tuesday 20th December.

Graham was a member of the Pemberton Old Wigan Band for many years, and a man whose personality touched many within the brass band movement.

Band saver

Some years ago he was among a small group of dedicated people who helped save Pemberton Old Wigan Band from probable extinction, after they had fallen on hard times and membership was down to just six players.

His friend George Fairhurst told 4BR: "A meeting was called which Graham and other ex-players attended. One person said that the best thing that could happen would be for the band to sell all the instruments and rehearsal room as there was no possibility of recovering from their position.

Graham, who was not one to mix words, suggested that the person should leave the room in short jerky movements, as there was no way that Pemberton band was going to the wall!"

Built back

Along with Brian Halliwell, Graham started to recruit players and soon Pemberton Old Wigan was able to enter contests again. Graham played Eb bass through its rise from the Fourth to the Championship Section.

Following his retirement from playing Graham still retained many attachments with the banding world through his daughter Natalie who played percussion with many bands in the North West. Natalie married Gareth Brindle, who is now a respected conductor with Rainford Band.

Some years ago he was among a small group of dedicated people who helped save Pemberton Old Wigan Band from probable extinction4BR


George added: "All our thoughts at this sad time are with Sheila, Jay, Lisa, Caitlin, Luke, Natalie, Gareth and Lauren."

Funeral details

Graham's funeral will take place on Tuesday, 3rd January 2017 at 11.00am at St Matthew's Church, Billinge Road, Highfield, Wigan. WN3 6BL.


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