It is with great sadness and regret that the Band announce the death of Ray Evans on Saturday 30th April 2016, following a dreadful illness bravely endured for the last three years.
Ray started to play cornet at the age of 7 Years in the Salvation Army at Crook. He joined this Band (which at that time was Esh Colliery Band) in 1967 and throughout his time has played Cornet, Soprano Cornet, Flugel Horn and Tenor Horn, before reverting back to the Cornet Section quite a number of years ago.
He had a wry sense of humour and was a quiet, unassuming man. Many people have anecdotes, stories and happy memories of time spent with Ray as the numerous condolence messages have shown. He rarely missed a practice and was known for voicing his own opinions about people who did, especially before contests!!. Despite his illness, he was determined to carry on playing and would attend even on his worse days. However, in March of this year, his illness finally took its toll and prevented him from attending his beloved Band.
The Band are proud and privileged to have had him as a member. In February 2001, Ray was presented with a certificate by the Durham County Brass Band Association for 50 Years Service to the Brass Band Movement.
Ray worked tirelessly for years with learners, some of whom have gone on to work with other Bands. His wisdom, selflessness and easy distinctive tutoring style were loved by all who knew him. Whilst his patience was sorely tested by some, he never gave up on them. He taught hundreds of youngsters including his own family, to play brass instruments. He was recognised for this work when he was awarded the Diploma on Honour for outstanding contribution to the Brass Band Movement, through the teaching of musicians. The Diploma was conferred upon him by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and was presented to him by Geoff Whitham in 2005 at the Area Contest. He was extremely proud of that achievement and very humbled by it.
In 2015, he was made a Life President of the Band and 2017 would have seen him complete 50 Years Loyal, Dedicated and Continuous Service to the Band.
He was one of the "Old Characters" of the Brass Band World and he will be sorely missed, not just by the Band he loved so much and supported so well, but by all who knew him. The Brass Band Movement has lost a stalwart and a true Gentleman, but Heaven has gained a first class bandsman!!!
He leaves a Wife, Marjorie, Daughter, Marion, Son, Michael, Son-in-Law David and Grandchildren Lindsey, Nicola and Richard all of whom will carry his legacy within the Brass Band Movement.
His funeral will be held on Wednesday 11th May 2016 at 2:30pm at St. Andrew's Methodist Chapel, Dawson Street, Crook, DL15 8NH and then 3:30pm at the Wear Valley Crematorium, Coundon, County Durham, DL14 8NR.
Refreshments and a small Band Concert in his honour will then be held at Crook Golf Club, DL15 9AA on return from the Crematorium.
Please join friends and family at any time throughout the afternoon to celebrate Ray's life. We would also welcome any players who would like to join the Band in playing at the service and/or the concert.