YOUNG musicians are set to breathe new life into two vintage clarinets.

Bradford Council’s music service has been gifted a pair of the woodwind instruments by an Oxford woman who wanted them to return to their Yorkshire roots. Liz Cairncross, contacted Bradford Music Education Hub to offer the instruments which had belonged to her mother who grew up in Ilkley and was taught to play by a musician in Bradford.

Gratefully taking Liz up on her offer, music staff were thrilled when the two clarinets arrived in the post a few days later, along with a glimpse into their history. Tucked in the package along with the clarinets was a 32-year-old letter from Granny to Isabella. Granny, who is Liz’s mother, explains in the 1988 letter, the clarinets were bought for her as a child, by her father who had also arranged lessons for her...“with a very nice Yorkshire man from Bradford, who was the leading /first clarinetist with the Carl Rosa Opera Company”.

Isabella never took to the clarinet, so they were returned to Granny who then passed them to her daughter, Liz, who then decided they should head back north.

The two instruments, which are a B flat clarinet and an A clarinet in the same case, are being refurbished by Bingley-based woodwind and brass repair company Windstruments before they will be played again by young musicians in the Bradford district.

Liz said: “My mother (Granny) would be so pleased to know that they will be used in this way. I remember her playing in our kitchen with the dog sat outside howling away. She passed them on to my niece (Isabella) who never made much progress and passed them to me as I play the flute in a band in Oxford.”

Tony Johnson, Head of Bradford Council’s Music and Arts Service, said: “We are extremely grateful to Liz for her very kind and thoughtful donation. New, young musicians will benefit greatly from her generosity. It was also wonderful to see the letter to Isabella from Granny. It gave us a sense of the history of the clarinets and their history with the family and Bradford.”