Lancashire double lottery winners handed new honour
A group of musicians from Lancashire have been given pride of place in a new piece by a world renowned artist.
Morercambe Brass Band is at the centre of the artwork by David Mach which has been created to mark the 25th birthday of The National Lottery.
The montage has gone in display in the unlikely setting of a newsagent’s shop to mark the start of six weeks of celebrations by the lottery.
Morecambe Brass Band was chosen as it was one of the first projects to receive National Lottery funding.
Members received a £47,566 cheque in June 1995 towards the purchase of 24 brass instruments and was the first lottery grant awarded by The Arts Council of England.
The money was presented by entertainer Danny La Rue at a ceremony at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds.
The band features alongside a mix of famous and lesser-known people and places from the world of sport, film, the arts, community and heritage.
They have been brought together in one image to represent The National Lottery’s impact on life in the UK over the past 25 years.
Other people featured in the collage include Sir John Major, who launched the National Lottery; Idris Elba, governor for The National Lottery funded British Film Institute; artist Tracey Emin, sports stars Rio Ferdinand and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Betty Webb, a World War Two codebreaker from Bletchley Park.
The line up is set against a backdrop of National Lottery funded venues including The Kelpies, Jodrell Bank, The Principality Stadium and Giant’s Causeway.
Morecambe Brass Band can trace its history back to 1878 and has managed to keep going through two world wars.
It’s a proud history and Bernard Vause, the band’s 78-year-old president, is confident the ensemble has an equally bright future.
He said: “It’s a privilege to be part of this special celebration and appear in this wonderful image. People come up to us after we play and say, ‘that was wonderful’, so you’re giving a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.
“We had all these children who wanted to play, but couldn’t because we didn’t have the instruments and if we want a future we need young people.”
Bernard added up the cost of a full set of new instruments – an assortment of cornets, trombones, tubas and euphoniums. He posted the grant form on the first day applications opened, but even he was amazed to learn the band had been granted the full sum.
He said: “I was astonished, perhaps I should have asked for more.
“Every one of those instruments is still in use - we haven’t needed to buy any new ones since 1995. Older players have simply handed their instruments down to younger players.”
The purchase of new instruments isn’t the only way money from The National Lottery has helped the band. Some of the renovations to their headquarters – a building on Birketts Place which was once used to store deckchairs and before that an assortment of circus animals – were paid for using a National Lottery Awards for All grant.
David Mach’s new artwork, titled United By Numbers: The National Lottery at 25, was being unveiled today (October 16) and exhibited for the day in the window of Booth and Howarth, on Mauldeth Road, Manchester. The shop has been selling National Lottery tickets for 25 years.