New Year’s Honour for Hodder Valley ‘Mr Music’

Celebration concert at Newton Village Hall for John Cowking's 40th anniversary as the conductor of Slaidburn Silver Band.'Photo Ben Parsons
Celebration concert at Newton Village Hall for John Cowking's 40th anniversary as the conductor of Slaidburn Silver Band.'Photo Ben Parsons
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Hodder Valley’s “Mr Music” has been recognised in the New Year Honours List.

John Cowking was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to music in the Hodder Valley. Probably best-known as the long-serving conductor of Slaidburn Silver Band, John is also the resident organist at St Andrew’s Church in Slaidburn, where he is also a churchwarden.

In 2012 He celebrated 40 years as the conductor of Slaidburn Silver Band, having taken up the post at the tender age of 16. Speaking at the time he told The Clitheroe Advertiser: “ “I was in the process of completing my O-Level in music and I suppose it was assumed that because I had a bit of musical and arrangement knowledge, I would be suitable for the role. It was a bit overwhelming when I was so young, but I had lots of help. I never dreamed I would still be doing it 40 years later!”

He added: “I love music making and it’s a way of life, not just a hobby. All my family are involved – my children Adam (30) and Emma (26) played in the band as they were growing up and my wife Alison is still a member and plays the flugel horn. I’m actually up for re-election every year at our AGM, but so far, everyone has voted for me to carry on.”

A concert was held to mark John’s 40th anniversary, which included pieces from the first concert he conducted.