Painter Bob Olley creates Westoe Brass Band’s latest CD cover

MINING HERITAGE ... Bob Olley's artwork.
MINING HERITAGE ... Bob Olley's artwork.

A WELL-KNOWN painter from South Tyneside has donated a piece of his artwork to help a brass band raise some much needed funds.

Former Whitburn Colliery miner Bob Olley put his creative talents into practice to create Westoe Brass Band’s latest CD cover.

The band, who practice at Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare, in Low Lane South Shields, is one of the oldest in South Tyneside.

Formed in 1911, it currently has around 30 members from a wide range of backgrounds, and since the closure of Westoe Colliery in 1993, has relied on fundraising and grants to keep them going.

Now, after designing the cover for the forthcoming release of their CD, The Call of the Colliery, he has agreed to allow the band to sell prints of the painting and keep the proceeds.

Bob, 75, who has been commissioned in the past by worldwide icons, including Nelson Mandela, said: “I am a great supporter of the band and think that all colliery bands are an integral part of our mining heritage and should never be allowed to slide into obscurity.

“Listen to their rendition of the miners’ hymn Gresford and I am sure you will be deeply moved, especially when you realise that it was written by Robert Saint, from Hebburn, to commemorate the 266 men and boys who lost their lives in the Gresford colliery disaster of 1934.”

The painting is based on a photograph, taken by Hannah Edwardson, of the band playing at the Marine Park in South Shields.

It also contains images of the band’s mining heritage with images of the Westoe Colliery tower, a Davy lamp and winding wheel.

Band member Dave Petherick said: “The band is very grateful to Bob for generously donating his talent and his time, and for kindly agreeing that all proceeds from the sale of prints should go to the band’s funds.”

The band, which started life as Harton Colliery Band, later becoming Westoe Colliery Band then more recently Westoe Brass Band.

The band plays in concerts across the region and competes nationally in competitions. Members rehearse ever Tuesday and Sunday evening at Harton and Miners’ Welfare.

The painting is on display at Hawthorn Arts in Westoe Road, South Shields, where prints can also be bought.

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