OVER the past 12 months Keighley Library has been hosting a series of events celebrating the district’s music heritage.

Featuring bands, musicians and speakers, the sessions have become popular, with one event attracting 200 people.

The next one, on Saturday, December 8, goes back once again to the dawn of a golden era in popular music, and the music comes from a band called The Elderberries, made up of members from popular 1960s Bradford bands The Dingos, Mel Clark 4 and The Dave Lee Sound.

The Elderberries feature showbiz entrepreneur Garth Cawood whose name is synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll. Born in Idle, Garth went on to become one of the earliest ballroom DJs in the UK. In the late 1950s he joined The Dingos and they became one of the best-loved entertaining rock ‘n’ roll bands in Yorkshire.

After a few years Garth moved on and his talent as a compere was soon in demand from the many package shows performing around the country. He became a friend of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Searchers and other big name acts, and his parents’ home in Undercliffe became a travel stop for various musicians of the day, including Tom Jones, Gene Vincent and Carl Denver.

“The bands and singers were all friendly. The Dingos topped the bill over the Stones at Leeds Town Hall, after which I brought them to Bradford, their first ever appearance here, for the students' ball at the Kings and Queens ballroom, Windsor Baths on Morley Street," says Garth, who runs the regular Top 20 Club at Idle & Thackley Conservative Club.

Garth and his business partner Stuart Reynolds purchased Keighley Variety Club, changing its name to The Funhouse, and the venue hosted the likes of PJ Proby, Diana Dors and cast members of Coronation Street, including Liz Dawn who played Vera Duckworth and Lynne Perrie who played Ivy Tilsley.

Garth also spent five years working with his friend, singer Jess Conrad at Brigitte Bardot’s club in glamorous celebrity haunt St Tropez.

The audience at next month’s Keighley Library session will have chance to put questions to Garth and to compere Trevor Simpson.

Trevor is back by popular demand, after giving at talk at the venue in July which was well attended despite the heatwave, the women’s tennis finals at Wimbledon and the England vs Belgium World Cup play off.

A keen sportsman, Trevor became a football referee in 1966, progressing to the Football League. But it is for his love and knowledge of music that he has been invited back to compere December’s rock ‘n’ roll show.

He has been an avid record collector since his teenage years and possesses “practically every version of every song by Elvis Presley”. He is the author of two books, Small Town, Saturday Night Volumes 1 and 2.

* The afternoon of nostalgia, chat and music on Saturday, December 8 starts at 1.30pm. The event is free, with any money raised from refreshments and donations going to charity.

Emma Clayton