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Tribute to Kenneth Howell, trumpet and flugal horn player

This tribute to MU member Kenneth Howell has been provided by his wife Deirdre Howell.

Photograph of Kenneth Howell
For over 20 years he ran The Southern Dance Orchestra, which in honour of Ken have changed the name to The Ken Howell Big band.

18 April 1929 – 26 November 2019

Ken went to Copnor Road School and played football and cricket for the school. He was evacuated to Totton with Northern Parade School for a year from 1939 to 1940. He left school to be an apprentice as a carpenter/joiner with Chris Coles, a well-known builder in Portsmouth at that time.

He was called up and served in the RAF from 1949 to 1952 as an airframe mechanic and notably played in their military band. In 1952 he went to London and played in various bands for a year, including those led by Teddy Foster and Phil Tate.

He returned to Portsmouth and was employed by the Frank J Privett Joiner Shop at the corner of Stubbington Avenue, Copnor. Ken then left Privetts’ to work for the Builders’ Guild, before progressing to BO Morris Engineers as a pattern maker for 4 years. He was in charge at the Greenfield Joiner Shop for four years, then in charge of Chichester Joinery, before working for Upton and Winder Builders as a joiner before starting his own firm, the Portsmouth Joiner Manufacturing Company Ltd, which remained in business until 1996.

Over many years, Ken played in both Reg Bannister’s Band at South Parade Pier and the Empress Ballroom, in addition to Alf Holman’s Band. He started running his own six-piece function band – the Ken Howell Dance Band - playing summer seasons at Warner’s Holiday Camps on Hayling Island, in Middleton-on-Sea and Bognor Regis, plus at various private functions. For over 20 years he ran The Southern Dance Orchestra, which in honour of Ken have changed the name to The Ken Howell Big band.

Ken joined the Musicians’ Union at a very young age, remaining a lifelong member and supporter, and attended many Union meetings in Portsmouth.

Ken’s newly named ‘Ken Howell Big Band’ will be playing at his funeral, which takes place on Friday 20 December at St. Faiths Church, Lee on the Solent, Hampshire. All donations will go to the ‘Music For All’ for young and old who want to play an instrument and read music but cannot afford to do so.

By Deirdre Howell

Published: 13/12/2019

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