A leading player and administrator with Renfrew Burgh Band has been honoured for his distinguished service over a 50 year period – all of it with the Burgh Band.

Soprano cornet player and band manager, George Mullin, was recently treated to a surprise party at Paisley’s Priorscroft Bowling Club, where he received a medal from the Scottish Brass Band Association recognising his dedication to the band and the wider movement.

Photo: George Mullin on stage with Renfrew Burgh Band

George, 64, of Penilee, said: “The evening came as a total surprise. My wife, Jean, was in on it from the beginning and hadn’t said a word. I can’t believe it’s 50 years already. Things have changed quite a lot in that time but I still enjoy it so I’ll keep working hard for the band on and off stage.”

Born in Kinning Park, George moved to Priesthill then Pollok. It was while he was a pupil at Crookston Castle Secondary School that George, who was in the Scouts, heard a friend playing the trumpet – and decided he wanted in on the action.

As a youngster, he played with Glasgow Schools Brass Band, becoming its principal cornet player. He joined Renfrew Burgh Band on third cornet in 1968 as a fresh-faced 14-year-old and worked his way along the section. Soon he settled on soprano, where he has remained.

Photo: George Mullin with Tom Allan secretary of SBBA

He has played under at least 15 Musical Directors at Renfrew, the rollercoaster of banding life bringing sustained spells of success interspersed with leaner periods. When he started, George was given a lift by a senior member but soon found himself catching three buses to make it to practices. “My mum did not have a phone,” George said. “If the practice was cancelled, I didn’t find out until I got to the band hall, and had to get three buses home again.”

Highlights include numerous competition victories including wins at the Scottish Championships, the pinnacle of the domestic contesting season, and representing Renfrew with pride at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. George frequently features as a soloist and has often been seen performing The Last Post with the Burgh Band on Remembrance Sunday.

His role as band manager has seen him working hard behind the scenes to ensure the band’s continued success, from organising personnel for events to transporting large amounts of gear to and from performances. Wife Jean has supported George in his banding, joining him in the committee as secretary.

David Hoey, chairman of Renfrew Burgh Band, said: “George Mullin embodies all that is great about the brass band movement. A talented musician, his cornet playing has been a key part of Renfrew Burgh Band’s success over the past five decades. Off stage, his contribution has been enormous, carrying out many of the tasks which are crucial to the continued existence of any amateur organisation.

Photo: George Mullin’s cake and cards

“Whether organising logistics, ensuring people and equipment get to the right place on time, hiring vans, signing new members or offering encouragement to an aspiring player, George is a true gentleman, an outstanding bandsman and Renfrew through and through.”

Tom Allan, secretary of the Scottish Brass Band Association, said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to present George with his Life Membership medal for 50 years of service to brass banding and all of it to the same band, a somewhat unique achievement these days.

“The number of players and former players at the presentation was a clear sign of their appreciation for his unwavering commitment to Renfrew Burgh Band over the decades. Congratulations George, on behalf of everyone at the Scottish Brass Band Association.”

More information about Renfrew Burgh Band is available at: renfrewburghband.co.uk.

Photo: George Mullin at Remembrance Service in Renfrew