HE Irwell Forge Silver Band hit the high notes back in 1965. It was a band with a long Bury pedigree, which dated back all the way to 1891.

William Norman Rayson had set up a band at his workplace, Breightmet Bleachworks, as well as in Ainsworth, just before then. Both bands didn’t last long, but things looked more promising for Ainsworth Brass Band, which played at Bolton ice rink in Chorley Old Road in the mid 1890s. Band members would actually walk to the “gig” and do the same on their return, late at night.

One November 5, they even played Hail Smiling Morn around a deserted bonfire, if records are to be believed, before marching on home to Ainsworth.

In 1946, the band changed its name to Ainsworth Public Subscription Band after having been disbanded during the Second World War. That name didn’t stick.

In the 1950s, there was another name change. The band had started to take sponsorship from a local firm, and became the Irwell Forge Band. A later sponsor of the band was Airtours — the travel company came on board in 1986 and continued its support of the band until 1989.

Because of its Bury roots, the band played on as Bury Brass Band until 1997, when the last 12 members sadly struggled to find an affordable rehearsal room and decided to hang up their instruments.

A slightly more recent snapshot of brass banding in Bury is pictured above left, too.

It shows the youngest member of Bury Silver Band, 12-year-old Brian Burrows, from Miller Street in Summerseat, who proudly lines up in 1970 with his older pals. He and his fellow band members took part in Bury’s annual brass band contest in the Technical School in Bury on the day this photo was taken.

The band’s results aren’t recorded with the photograph — hopefully they did themselves proud and there was no need to skulk out through the fire exit seen in the background...