A BRASS band has been rocked by the sudden death of their musical director.

Yorkshireman Bernard Lawson, who was in his mid-eighties, is said to have died peacefully last Friday after complaining of feeling a little unwell.

Ringwood and Burley Band publicity officer Ray Alexander said: “He was a very spritely man, quite active and with it, very knowledgeable and well thought of.”

Mr Lawson was doing his second stint for the band after “retiring” in 2003, having led the band to contest success. He came out of retirement to rejoin the band in 2009 when it was facing a difficult period.

Mr Lawson studied at Leeds College of Music and Trinity College London, followed by two years’ study in conducting at Huddersfield University.

He was the first student to be awarded an LRAM Diploma in Brass Band conducting and, before moving to the south, he had conducted bands and choirs for more than 60 years.

He started playing as an eight-year-old with the Salvation Army Young People’s Band in Leeds. He led both songsters and bands in Leeds, Bradford, Bolton and London.

Mr Alexander added: “Bernard was a well-known and respected member of the brass band world and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.”

After Mr Lawson’s sudden death the 134th annual meeting of the band was cut short.

Chairman Tony Mist welcomed the Mayor Steve Rippon-Swaine, sponsors and members and paid tribute Mr Lawson.

Members fell silent to remember supporters of the band who had died during the year – long-standing supporters Ted Baker and June Meekly and former player David Seabright.

Deputy musical director Steve Block will take over Mr Lawson’s post.

Wilma Brock received The Lister Cup for progress during the year and The Chairman’s Cup was presented to Alan Hall for the work he does for the band. Cllr Rippon-Swaine presented long service awards for 50 years service to Alan Hall, Ron Anthony, Tony Gurd and John Haywood.