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Tredegar Band

Aneurin Bevan Day
Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Tredegar
Sunday 1st July

70 years almost to the day that the National Health Service came into being, the town that inspired is creation celebrated the local man who gave the world what he called “a beacon of humanity”.

Aneurin Bevan was born in Tredegar in 1897 - later becoming a miner, local councillor and finally, the Minister for Health and Housing under the Clement Attlee’s pioneering post war government. 

Bevan Day

At the start of a community ‘Bevan Day’, its local brass band, itself created in the town in 1876, led a procession through to the pretty Bedwellty Park bandstand where speeches were given by local and national politicians - all of whom basked in his glory, yet still remained completely overshadowed, nearly 60 years after his death, by the greatness of the man affectionately known simply as ‘Nye’. 

The afternoon concert (one of Sunday series that has taken place for over 70 years) also paid musical homage to the architect of the NHS who said, “No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means”.

It came with the world premiere of the soprano cornet solo entitled ‘Legacy’ written by Tom Davoren, through a commission by the band with funding through Ty Cerdd, the Welsh arts body. 

The afternoon concert (one of Sunday series that has taken place for over 70 years) also paid musical homage to the architect of the NHS who said, “No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means”.

All corners of the globe

Inspired by Bevan’s determination in his belief in a service which he said would ‘Tredegar-ise’ the country – its lyrical power grew in passion to a rousing climax – the final top C ringing across the park for the large and appreciative audience to acclaim. 

Later on Sunday evening the performance from soloist Ian Roberts was heard on the BBC 10 o’clock news. Bevan’s message of hope and equality had once again reached all corners of the globe.

It provided an emotional occasion with a focal point of celebration - one that was also enhanced by a lightweight programme of entertainment from Ian Porthouse and his band that neatly encompassed everything from ‘The Miner’s Hymn’ and ‘Calling All Workers’ to Mozart and MacArthur Park. 

The pride shown in two of the town’s finest exports was universal – and freely given. Just like the NHS itself.

Iwan Fox

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