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Brian Higgins - A Stanshawe Legend

Our dear friend Brian Higgins sadly passed away on Monday 28th October 2009. Brian was the main founder member and the brains behind the idea of setting up the Stanshawe Band and was in fact its first chairman.

Brian played horn for the band when it started and was the man responsible for organising the bands first set of instruments and recruiting Professor Walter Hargreaves to the band which proved so successful. A kind man with great vision he will be sorely missed by all his banding colleagues.


Thanksgiving Service
A thanksgiving service was held to celebrate Brian's life on Friday 9th October. Members of the Sun Life Stanshawe Band came together to perform two pieces, joining his family to give him a fine musical send off.
Dear Friends

A thank you from Brian's family
We would like to say a very big thank you for all the loving messages of sympathy we have received  following Brian’s sudden death.  We have been greatly helped by your thoughts, prayers and support.

The Band was such a big part of Brian’s life.  He was so proud of you all; the endeavours, achievements, the successes and the long-lasting friendships he made through the years were very special to him.

We were all delighted  to see so many familiar faces and that so many of you were able to play for his Thanksgiving Service last week.  Everyone was saying how wonderful the Band sounded – you certainly gave Brian a rousing and emotional send off – he would have been very happy. 
Thank you all so much.

God bless you
With all good wishes

Janet Higgins and family

Brian Higgins - a tribute by Geoffey Brand.

Even at this distance I clearly remember, back in the late 1960s, a telephone call from someone whose voice, with its attractive West Country inflexion and measured delivery, at once conveyed warmth, sincerity and friendliness.

Though entirely unknown to me, within a few minutes the caller had communicated the enthusiasm and significance of his call, which was to tell me of a determination which he, and a small group of brass band enthusiasts, had carefully considered and were now embarked on achieving.  Their aim was to set up a top-class brass band, to be based in the City of Bristol.

The caller, Brian Higgins, a solicitor by profession, was to be the Chairman of the Band which would be set up on the basis of sound business procedure.  Brian was also, I learned, a horn player who hoped to justify inclusion as a playing member of the band which he and his colleagues were to form !

The name was to be the Stanshawe ( Bristol ) band, reflecting the area in the city where the Band would be based.   Later, a new sponsorship was secured, and its name became Sun Life Band which achieved successes which are properly documented and acknowledged.

But, at this time of Brian's passing, it is right that he and, no less, those colleagues who conceived and achieved the setting up of the Sun Life Band, should be acknowledged and applauded.    Without their vision and commitment the Sun Life Band would not have existed.

Quite recently a Re-union Dinner was held in Bristol to mark and celebrate the achievements of the Sun Life Band and also to re-unite those members who had played a part in making a dream into a reality.    Brian Higgins was one of those who spoke during that evening and I was reminded of the voice which I first heard on the telephone many years ago.   Through the clarity of his thoughts and his measured delivery he still conveyed the same warmth, sincerity and friendliness which, essentially, was Brian.

As one who, at Brian's invitation, played a small part in the musical activities of Sun Life Band, it is a privilege to pay my deep respects to a special man, and a friend, who also was a devotee of fine brass bands and their music making.

Thank you, Brian, for making that phone call all those years ago.

Geoffrey Brand - 2009