It is with great regret and a sense of extreme loss that I have the sad duty to announce the untimely death of one of Cumbria's most respected and leading musicians. Joe Ireland died in hospital in the early hours of 27th December aged 77. He had succesfully lived with illness for a long time and we are all shocked that his life has finally ended. He leaves his wife Majorie and only son Craig and family, whom we offer our deepest respects and condolences. He had a long musical career spanning over 60 years, 50 of which he spent as the MD of Dearham Band. This band he took from the 4th section and into the Championship Section in the 70's, competing against the Northern Region's top bands. This band had Jim Porthouse ( Ian's dad), on Solo Cornet, Stephen Tighe on Solo Trombone, John McLoughlin on Solo Euphonium and many other first class intstrumentalists. They were a force to be reckoned with. Geoff Whitham, who conducted the band from time to time, called them a "Mini Black Dyke"!.... Praise indeed. The band stayed together for many years and has recently seen success again, having attended the US open championships with their new MD, Mark Condron and coming third. Joe was responsible for training many young musicians while connected to the Workington Youth Band such as, Ian Porthouse, Dennis and Peter Hadfield and Peter Younghusband. He helped stock the highly succesful Cumbria Youth Band while in its most succesful years when directed by Dick Evans. He has been for a long time, a true unsung hero in Cumbria and indeed the brass band world in general. The funeral and interment took place last Friday in a rather wet Dearham. The band marching in front of the cortege, led Joe to the service at Dearham Methodist Chapel. Here a packed congregation was witness to a very emotionally charged service where the band played all the hymns and the Eulogy was given by his old friend Parker Wilkinson. Stephen Tighe gave an emotional reading form "John" ("thats the hardest thing I have ever done" said Stephen) and conducted the band by the graveside in an arrangement of the hymn Crimond. Afterwards many stories and wonderful memories were exchanged at the "Ploughmans". The gathered assorment of family and friends, left feeling that a special person had left us all feeling very much the richer for having known this quiet, unassuming, loyal, genorous and talented human being.