LISKEARD Silver Band has paid tribute to a “colourful local character” and longstanding member who has died at the age of 91.
Donald Delbert Howlett was awarded the MBE in 2001 for his services to the community and particularly to the Silver Band.
The band said it was with great sadness that they announced his passing.
“Don, a genial, gentle, man will be remembered by many as the slowest taxi driver in the West, yet he had hidden depths,” wrote Tom Hoyle.
“He was a talented musician, starting his musical career with the Morice Town Salvation Army Junior Band in Devonport at the age of six. Over the years he played with several other bands both locally and as part of his military service career.
“He joined Liskeard Silver Band in 1953 and later formed and conducted its Junior Band obtaining many good results at competition.”
Later, Don became involved with teaching and conducting other junior bands including Lostwithiel and St Pinnock. He also served on the Liskeard Silver Band committee and as trustee.
In 1993 Don stepped in as the caretaker Musical Director of the band but remained in post until 2001. He continued to teach and play in the band for several more years.
In 2000, Don received a long service award from the Cornwall Brass Band Association and in the following year, was awarded the MBE. He became an Honoured Burgess of Liskeard in 2006 in recognition of his dedication to the town and its music.
Liskeard Silver Band players raised their instruments in tribute to another much-loved member during a funeral service at St Cleer Church recently.
Neil Freeman, treasurer and cornet player with the band, died in December after a short illness.
Local people who read the announcement online described their sadness at the loss of a “friendly, kind man who was a true gentleman”.
“We were proud to play outside as Neil was taken into St Cleer Church and at the end of the service,” said band secretary Debbie Smith.
“It was a very fitting tribute for a kind and generous man. Rest in peace Neil.”