ANOTHER LEGEND of the local music scene has died.

Ron Bligh, who dedicated more than 50 years of his life to music making in the Salisbury area, died earlier this month aged 81. 

Ron was born in Salisbury on December 24, 1942, and was educated in the city.

In 1955 he joined the Woodfalls Brass Band – currently in its 150th anniversary year.

He held the flugelhorn chair for the majority of his 34 years there and during his tenure in 1965 the band broke into the top-league 'Championship' section and remain there to this day.

Woodfalls Band are still recognised one of the country's top-performing brass bands and Ron played in the National Finals competition at the Royal Albert Hall no less than four times in his musical career, which included five performances at the British Open Championships and two wins at the Grand Shield competition – notoriously one of the most difficult competitions in banding.

A renowned soloist in his own right, Ron also received personal accolades and individual awards at contests and concerts nationwide, performing alongside his talented brother David; himself a revered principal cornet player.

He served as the band's Secretary from 1968 until 1976 when he began peripatetic teaching at Downton Secondary School.

Enthusiastically, he soon established a new Woodfalls Junior Band (later Woodfalls Concert Brass), conducting and tutoring, fresh-faced recruits.

The band went on to enjoy many notable concerts and competition successes in their own right.

In his time at the helm, the band rose to national ranking of 1st section (and Championship section in the local Wessex area) and appeared twice at the National Brass Band Finals of Great Britain.

Incredibly, in 1988 Ron oversaw the formation of yet another 'next-generation' Junior Band and all three bands enjoyed successes – even topping their respective sections one year at the same competition!

Through all this, Ron continued playing at the highest level until 1989, and as Musical Director of the Concert Brass for a further 14 years until October 2003.

After an impressive 52 years in banding, Ron gracefully retired from conducting when he moved away from the area.

He would later return to Fordingbridge but unfortunately ill health would prevent him from returning to the musical world he loved and had given so much to.

A spokesperson for the Woodfalls Band said: "Ron's contribution to music and in particular brass banding was immense, and he leaves behind a wonderful legacy of generations of musicians and memories."

It added: "Many of the players who were under Ron's guidance are still today actively engaged in enjoying music, pursuing careers as either professional or amateur musicians; a clear testament to his lasting inspiration.

"While we celebrate all he has achieved, we extend our deepest condolences to Ron's children, Colin, Trish and Julia, his brother David, and their families, during this difficult time. Ron’s passion, dedication, and musical leadership will be dearly missed but fondly remembered. A loving husband, father, brother and friend, a true gentleman and a great bandsman."