Longridge music champion received MBE from the Queen

PALACE HONOUR: Mr Ernest Tomlinson with daughter Mrs Hilary Ashton, Mr Bill Ashton and their son Robert.

PALACE HONOUR: Mr Ernest Tomlinson with daughter Mrs Hilary Ashton, Mr Bill Ashton and their son Robert.

COMPOSER and light music champion Mr Ernest Tomlinson went to Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE medal from The Queen for his services to music.

As the head of the national Light Music Society, he has worked tirelessly since the 1960s to rescue and preserve orchestral music that was in danger of being thrown away and lost forever.

At his home at Lancaster Farm, Longridge, Mr Tomlinson (88), has more than 35,000 sets of orchestral scores that the Light Music Society now hires out to professional and amateur orchestras in Britain and abroad.

Mr Tomlinson travelled to London with his daughter Mrs Hilary Ashton and her husband Bill, who are music teachers in Clitheroe. Their son Robert, an IT specialist in London, accompanied them to the Palace.

“My father received his medal from The Queen herself,” said Mrs Ashton, of Eshton Terrace, Clitheroe. “It was a proud day for him. People had been campaigning for 15 years for his efforts to be recognised.”

Sometimes composing under the name Alan Perry, Mr Tomlinson has written many pieces still being played today on Classic FM, along with light music greats such as Eric Coates and Leroy Anderson.

His rescue campaign began in 1966 when he was horrififed to learn that the BBC, music publishers and public libraries were throwing away irreplaceable light music scores that orchestras had been playing since the 19th century.

He started to collect and catalogue them, and now his daughter administers the huge collection as librarian of the Light Music Society, with help from volunteers. Mr Tomlinson is the society’s president.

The royal honour means Mr Tomlinson follows his father Fred - a celebrated choir conductor in Rossendale - who was also made an MBE for his services to music.




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