Doncaster musician who battled brain tumour for four years dies

Alan Needham.
Alan Needham.

A Doncaster musician who battled a brain tumour for four years and underwent surgery while still awake has died.

Brass bandsman Alan Needham, who spent 40 years performing with his beloved Rossington Band, died on January 2 at the age of 65.

Mr Needham was an acclaimed conductor.

Mr Needham was an acclaimed conductor.

He was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2014 and was given six months to live but defied medics and even underwent brain surgery while still conscious during his treatment.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Needham who was well-known in local music circles and described as "a highly respected bandsman."

Brass band website 4barsrest.com said Mr Needham had "bravely fought an inspirational battle against cancer" while the Brain Tumour Research Charity called him a "totally inspiring supporter."

One of Mr Needham's wishes was to see the Rossington Band, which disbanded in 2004, perform one last time and brass band musicians from across the region came together to perform a one-off concert.

He was presented with the 2015 Butlins Excellence Award in recognition of half a century of loyal and dedicated service to the brass band movement .

A gifted player, he also gained success as a conductor working with the likes of Dronfield, Market Rasen and Whitwell bands, winning the Fourth Section Bolsover Entertainment title with Market Rasen in 2012 as well as gaining podium finishes at Butlins, the Midlands Regional Championships, Buxton, Pontins and the NEDBBA contests.

The former miner and civil servant was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in January 2014 but refused to be beaten by the disease and threw himself into fundraising to help others, helping to raise over £21,000 for people suffering from the same condition.

Life-long music lover Mr Needham was a dedicated member Rossington Band from the age of eight up until it disbanded 14 years ago.

The father-of-two was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour, a Type 4 Glioblastoma and when friends and former colleagues heard of his plight, a concert was organised to reunite the band once more - with Mr Needham as conductor.

At the time he said: “I can’t put into words what it would mean to see us all play together again. I’ve never been into sport, or drinking, and for me this has been my life.”

The discovery of Mr Needham's brain tumour came when he collapsed and was unable to speak and believed he was having a stroke.

He was rushed into hospital and was given a CT scan, which revealed that he had a tumour almost four centimetres wide, that doctors believe had been there for months.

He underwent extremely aggressive chemo-radiation treatment and the euphonium player and also underwent a craniotomy while wide awake.

Funeral details have yet to be released.