THE West Somerset Brass Band has bid a fond farewell to baritone player Bill Whitworth, a stalwart who played a crucial role in the group for many years.

His retirement signified the end of an era, marking the conclusion of a dedicated musical journey and a family tradition of three generations within the band.

Bill joined in 2003 and quickly became an ‘unsung hero’, quietly assuming positions in the engine room of the band, adding depth and colour to the band’s music both on the trombone and baritone.

Although Bill has left, his family connections still run deep, with his son and daughter-in-law Colin and Claire Whitworth and two grandchildren all having followed in his musical footsteps as members of the band.

Reflecting on his musical journey, Bill, who first joined a brass band in Bristol when he left the Merchant Navy, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of banding life.

“It has been great fun over the years and I have made many good friends.

“But I am now going to enjoy being a spectator and supporter of the band from the sidelines.”

For his retirement, Bill was presented by musical director Niall Watson with an engraved carriage clock as a token of appreciation for his many years of service.

The traditional amateur brass band, which was was formed in 1952 and was originally the Watchet Royal British Legion Band, has 30 regular players.

Its rehearsals and training are held on Friday evenings in Watchet Methodist Church’s schoolroom.