A MAN who spent half his life living Bracken Bank has celebrated his 105th birthday.

George Harold Clough, who now lives at the Currergate Nursing Home in Steeton, has been a lifelong musician and continued playing with Silsden Town Band until he was 97.

Known as Harold, he was born in 1912 at Stairfoot, Barnsley, and at the age of 14 started work in the mines on the pit bottom working as a driver with a pit pony called Jolly.

He supplied the men with tubs for them to fill with coal.

Over the next few years Harold worked his way up to ‘top money’ but at the age of 21 found himself out of work because younger boys were cheaper to employ on haulage in the mines.

He then worked at various places in the north of England including Buxton, Orrell and Barnoldswick.

Harold joined the Salvation Army in his early 20s, and it was there that he met and married Lt Daisy Richardson. He became a Salvation Army church leader in 1936.

Harold, Daisy and their first-born daughter Sylvia moved to Keighley in 1945, where they had another daughter Mavis.

Harold lived in Elmwood Road, Bracken Bank, for 57 years until moving to Addingham in 2006, then eight years ago following an illness he moved the Currergate.

During his working life Harold was a radial driller at engineering firm Widdop’s until the company moved to Scotland, then he worked at Sealand Engineering until his retirement.

Harold’s great-granddaughter Josie Clarkson said: “Harold has a lovely singing voice and sang in the choir at the local Salvation Army for many years, and in the church choir at Mount Hermon Chapel when he lived in Addingham.

“He played the cornet in the band at the Salvation Army and latterly in Silsden Town Band. He stopped playing with the band aged 97 after his illness, at which time he was the oldest brass band player in the UK.”

Josie said Harold spent his birthday quietly with various members of his family and friends.

She added: “Harold has two daughters, two surviving sisters, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“He is still very sharp ofmind and continues to inspire everyone with his words of wisdom and kindness; his only major grumble is his knees.

“He feels that, for all the new advances, the world is not a better place than it was 105 years ago when he was born.”