Fitting tribute to band member

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COLLIERY band members have paid a fitting tribute to a former miner whose great passion in life was music.

People lined the streets at the weekend to pay their respects to Thomas Haswell as friends and former brass band colleagues led a musical procession to the funeral service.

The 82-year-old, who worked at Horden Colliery for 40 years, was a former member of the Horden Colliery, Easington Colliery and Salvation Army brass bands.

Thomas, who started playing the trombone at the age of 14, played at The Royal Albert Hall and at a number of big band meetings across the country until he stopped performing 10 years ago.

Friends, family and former work colleagues have paid tribute to the dad-of-one, who died of heart failure at his Braithwaite Road home, in Peterlee, on Sunday, January 23.

His wife Jean, 75, was married to for more than 50 years.

The former nurse said: “His main hobby in life was his music and he would be playing with the band two or three times a week at its peak.

“Thomas had been playing in a band since the age of 14 and he loved the community spirit.

“He was well liked, well known and very popular and we will all miss him dearly.

“Thomas was very outgoing and he also loved to cook and bake, cakes were his speciality.”

The pair celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on January 14.

Thomas also leaves behind a 47-year-old daughter, a 26-year-old grandson and his brother, Alan Haswell.

Stan Crooks, a lifelong friend and former member of the Horden Colliery and Salvation Army band, paid tribute at the service.

The 84-year-old, who lives in Hawes Road, Peterlee, said: “We grew up together and we were encouraged to learn to play an instrument and join the Salvation Army Band, in Horden.

“Thomas took to the trombone while I started to learn the euphonium.

“It has always been his passion in life and he was brass band mad. He was kind and generous to a fault.”

Thomas also worked as a chauffeur for a funeral home for more than 15 years before finally hanging up his driving gloves at the ripe old age of 79.

Ivan Cochrane, of Cochrane’s Funeral Directors, said: “He was dedicated to his job, well respected and always immaculately dressed.

“Thomas was a gentleman’s gentleman.”

The funeral service was held on Saturday at Horden Salvation Army, before burial at Thorpe Road Cemetery, in Horden.