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Whitburn Band legend Sam Knox passes away

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

It is with great sadness that Whitburn Band has learnt of the death of Sam Knox, who was part of our band for over 70 years.

Sam was a member of the first-ever Scottish band to win a national title when Whitburn won the Third Section National Championships in 1954, and he was still a member of the Whitburn Heartlands Band to this day - passing on his considerable knowledge to the next generation of cornet players as they make their way in the banding world.

He became a Scottish Champion with Whitburn for a remarkable 13th time in 2008, 40 years after his first triumph in the prestigious contest.

Sam performed with Whitburn Heartlands and passed on his wealth of knowledge to the next generation of players

When Sam played his first notes with Whitburn, King George VI was on the throne. His first musical encounter with a brass band came after he heard one playing in the hall of the local pigeon racing club. From then on, he was hooked.

“I was given an Eb Bass," he said in an interview to mark his 70 years with Whitburn in 2018.

“I took it down the road, and my mother nearly had a fit when she saw this big clarty instrument.”

Sam didn’t stay on Eb Bass for long. He was a brilliant cornet player - a constant powerhouse in the back row during the celebrated Major Peter Parkes era of the 1980s and 1990s, as Whitburn became one of the leading bands in the UK.

Sam was awarded the Whitburn Heartlands Players’ Player of the Year trophy for 2019

Sam is loved across the banding community, and anyone who knew him from Whitburn knows he was a gentleman, a dedicated bandsperson, and a dear, dear friend to anyone who had to the pleasure to know him.

A few years ago, in an interview series on Whitburn Band legends, Sam took a trip down memory lane to talk about his time with the band, and the camaraderie he had with his fellow players for many, many years.

At the end, he summed up what brass banding and Whitburn meant to him.

“I’d do the same again. Great days, great times. It was all worthwhile. You were achieving something, you were doing something for the community.

“It was great training for young folk – discipline, responsibility, being a part of something, being part of a team. You couldn’t get anything better.”

Rest in peace Sam, and our deepest condolences to your family and many friends.

You will always be a legend of Whitburn Band.

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What John said a banding gentleman. I too have great memories of being shown the ropes by Sam! Playing with him on the back row! My condolences.


So very sorry to hear this news today. I had the privilege to sit beside Sam in the back row over a number of years and benefit from his experience and wisdom. Always a pleasure. A true gentleman, and the very essence of what Whitburn Band is about. A rock solid and dependable player, the best compliment I can pay him though is that he was a 'great bandsman', which goes way beyond just the playing. Condolences to his family and all Whitburn friends past and present.

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