Band leader’s spirit lives on after daughter donates piano

Hospital volunteer pianist Barry Evans with Maria Jennings, Clinical Matron on the care for the elderly wards

A band leader’s upright piano is bringing pleasure to a new audience at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. 

School music teacher Hughie Mett used the piano to work out arrangements for the Blackpool Jazz Orchestra which was well-known across the Fylde during the 1960s and 1970s specialising in the Glenn Miller big band sound. 

Hughie Mett with his granddaughter in 1991

His daughter, Melodie, was moved to donate it after reading the ancient instrument used to entertain patients on the Memory Corridor of the care for the elderly wards had tinkled its last tune. 

“I had considered selling it but when I saw the story about the Memory Corridor, I thought ‘that has to be it’,” she said. 

Hughie, who played drums and vibraphone in the orchestra, was head of music at Fleetwood Grammar School, later high school following the amalgamation of the town’s three secondary schools, until retiring in 1986. He died in 1993 following a cancer diagnosis, two hours after hearing a much longed for grandson, Alex, had been born. 

Melodie said: “His piano had to go somewhere special because he was someone special. Now, the spirit of his music will live on.” 

… and here’s hospital volunteer Barry Evans playing Hughie’s piano for the first time on the Memory Corridor ahead of tuning.


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