Tributes as Doncaster musical star and MBE dies at 91

Haydn Griffiths, Musical Director of Armthorpe Elmfield Band, who has died at the age of 91.
Haydn Griffiths, Musical Director of Armthorpe Elmfield Band, who has died at the age of 91.

Tributes have been paid following the death of a star of the Doncaster music scene and MBE who has died at the age of 91.

Haydn Griffiths, the long-standing conductor of Armthorpe Elmfield Band, was known to generations of musicians in Doncaster and served the local brass band movement for nearly nine decades.

Mr Griffiths was awarded the MBE in 2002.

Mr Griffiths was awarded the MBE in 2002.

He was awarded the MBE in 2002 for his services to music.

A hugely respected musician died surrounded by his family, friends and with his beloved band playing for him one last time.

Brass band website 4BarsRest said: “A remarkable musician, he served the local community and brass band movement for almost nine decades with a level of dedicated service, good humour and respect.

“He was regarded as a true gentleman of the brass banding world.”

Last year saw the publication of his biography - one that told a remarkable musical life story that started at the age of seven.

He became a much sought after player and later conductor; first as Assistant Bandmaster of Markham Main Colliery Band, then Hatfield Colliery and again at Markham Main Colliery as musical director.

However, it was his association with the formation of Armthorpe Elmfield Band in 1964 that made his name — one that lasted for the rest of his life.

The tribute added: “A teacher who inspired hundreds of players, his dedication to Armthorpe and the band movement was unparalleled. His successes on the contest and concert stage were numerous — including Area Championship wins and local and regional event victories.

“He also played for royalty, including Her Majesty the Queen, and in 2002 was awarded the MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list for services to the Armthorpe Elmfield Band and the Doncaster community.”

He also became the first Honorary Freeman of the Parish of Armthorpe in recognition of the voluntary service he gave to the Armthorpe Band organisation for over 46 years, and he proudly conducted the Black Dyke Band during concerts at both Selby Abbey and Scunthorpe Baths.

A band spokesman told 4BR: "Haydn's life has been full of amazing accomplishments inspiring young people to perform and realise their potential.

“As one of, if not the longest standing single band conductors, he has sadly left us, but we know that Armthorpe Elmfield Band will be continuing his wishes and building upon his great legacy of inspiring many more generations of young, budding musicians."

The funeral service will take place on Friday 16 November at 11am at the Church of St Leonards and St Marys, Church Street, Armthorpe followed by committal at Rose Hill Crematorium. Following the service, the family would like to invite everyone to join them at the Armthorpe Community Centre for refreshments and to share memories.

A book of remembrance has been opened at Armthorpe Community Centre.