Touching tributes paid to popular cornet player at Whit Friday brass band contests

TOUCHING TRIBUTES were paid at this year’s Whit Friday Brass Band contests to a popular cornet player who died in May.

Delph raised Mark Rodgers, who performed for a multitude of bands in Saddleworth and throughout the North of England, passed away in his sleep on May 12, aged 40.

But his life and contribution to brass banding was celebrated on an emotional day throughout the villages.

Uppermill Band, for whom he played at the time of his death, paid their own tributes to the experienced soprano cornet player.

All members wore white roses in their jacket lapels and Mark’s cornet was carried at the head of the band to all their contests before the instrument is retired from service.

Flowers were laid at the Delph contest, where a number of other floral tributes had been placed by the contest ring.

mark rodgers cornet
Mark Rodgers’ cornet is carried down in front of the band at the Greenfield contest

A member of the band said: “At Delph, Mark’s girlfriend Lauren, who also plays with Uppermill Band, carried the cornet.

“There was sustained applause by the crowds when we stopped on the High Street on the March down to the contest.

“This was very emotional as it was Mark’s village and he was very well known there.”

Mark’s parents, Bob and Mary, organisers of the Delph band contest, were consulted on proposals to honour their son.

Bob said: “The outpour of kind messages has been overwhelming. If you lined up all the people who have offered to help they would stretch through the villages.

“A lot of the bands wanted to do a tribute or play a hymn on Whit Friday but that could have been disruptive, as nice as the idea was. We just tried to get on with things as normal.”

Mark’s funeral will be held on Friday, May 27 at Christ Church, Denshaw. 2pm.

Brass Band stalwart Bill Cullen was also missed as he passed away in February this year. Bill was integral to helping organise the Springhead and Lees contest, as well as compiling results from across the villages.


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