As some of you may be aware, as well as looking to the future in the events that we are running, we also like to try and find time to reflect on the past and make sure our history is preserved.

When sending out our usual membership emails this year, we also contacted bands and asked if they had any information on some of our perpetual trophies. We have just updated our website with information on the Harry Gault Memorial Trophy that is awarded to the Best Soloist in the Championship Section at our annual Spring Festival.

We would like to thank the members of Murley Silver Band who put the information together for us and we would also like to acknowledge what a moving and special tribute it is to Harry❤️

“The Harry Gault Memorial Trophy was presented by Murley Silver Band to the BBL in 2000 (tbc) in memory of their conductor Harry Gault who died suddenly after the band’s performance of English Heritage in the BBL contest at RBAI, Belfast on 12th April 1997. Harry had been conducting Murley since 1973 and had brought great contesting success over his tenure, bringing the band through the Junior and Intermediate ranks until they became a Senior band in 1981. Harry was an inspiring leader who brought over 24 years of musical enjoyment and fulfilment to the many players involved with the band during that time.

Harry worked as an Education board brass peripatetic tutor in the Western region and had begun his brass banding with Ligoniel Silver, Belfast. He was a French Horn player and began applying his skills in ensembles/bands during the early 1970s. He helped to form the Tyrone Youth Band in Strabane during this time with the pupils he was tutoring in the Strabane area and they achieved great contesting success through the 1970s before growing into Strabane Concert Brass. Harry was therefore very busy conducting two Championship standard bands throughout the 1980s and right up to 1997. He had also experienced success with St Colman’s band winning the Intermediate section in 1982.

Harry was delighted with Murley’s performance in the 1997 contest and punched the air in triumph after the final sound faded away. He also quite remarkably shook the hand of every player as they left the contesting stage. It was therefore with a sense of utter shock and disbelief that the band heard of Harry’s sudden collapse and subsequent death. It was made even more heart wrenching with his beloved wife Carol being at his side as she had been playing in the band that day.

In the immediate aftermath of Harry’s passing the band was led by Ann Robertson (now Bloomfield) and used a scheduled trip to Bray, Co Wicklow as part of the healing process. Murley then turned to long time friend and Strabane Concert brass player, Stephen Magee to steer the band through the next two years. In 1999 Keith Anderson began his tenure with Murley and it was with a sense of great pride that Keith would become the first recipient of the Harry Gault Memorial Trophy for best instrumentalist with his performance for Laganvale in 2001 tbc having earlier conducted Murley. The trophy therefore travelled back to Fivemiletown on the same day that it had been presented.”