Former Eastbourne Silver Band member celebrates 100th birthday

Harry Cleminson Stafford celebrated his milestone birthday on September 1 with 22 members of Eastbourne Silver Band attending his party and performing for him.

Mr Stafford was born and grew up in Greater Manchester before moving to Eastbourne around 60 years ago.

He said: “It was great. So many people came to see me, I can’t remember them all.”

Harry Stafford (centre) with the Eastbourne Silver Band

Mr Stafford’s daughter Pauline Taylor, who arranged for the band to play, added: “It was amazing. I didn’t tell him anything.

“There is a big connection with the band and my dad.

“He had a fantastic day.”

Mr. Stafford played in the silver band for more than 20 years, according to his daughter.

Harry Stafford with his grandson Adrian and daughter Pauline

Mrs Taylor added: “He still plays his trumpet, using YouTube for sheet music.

“Once a musician, always a musician.”

Mr Stafford, who used to work at Towner Eastbourne, also celebrated his birthday alongside other Royal Marines – past and present.

He said: “I owe them a lot.” The Royal Marines, its a wonderful bunch of people, they really are.

Harry Stafford with former Royal Marine Brian Gilbert

“I owe an awful lot to the Royal Marines. They trained me, they taught me a lot and I owe them a lot.”

Mr Stafford explained how the marines had helped him care for his late wife, Eileen, until her death in 2010.

He added: “They are a great bunch of people. They never forget anything.”

Mr Stafford’s daughter said many neighbours, friends and carers attended the party and listened to the band play by his home.

Mrs Taylor said there was also a visit from Mr Stafford’s great nephew Travis, who made the trip from Germany, and his grandson Adrian as they performed a duet together titled ‘cousins’.

Mr Stafford also spoke about how happy he was to have received a letter from Queen Elizabeth II before her death.

He said: “I did get a card from the Queen. I am very patriotic. It was very special.”

Mrs Taylor added: “He had been looking forward to his card from the queen. He was really excited.”

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