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Whitburn Band stalwart Gordon Simpson given special award by SBBA

Picture credit - James Doyle

A Whitburn Band stalwart has been awarded by the Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) for his work with his brass band archive website Brass Stats.

Gordon Simpson, who is the Chairman of the Whitburn Band trustees, was presented the award by SBBA President Carrie Boax at the recent Scottish Open Championships, which Whitburn won under the baton of Professor Nicholas Childs.

Gordon’s interest in brass band records and statistics was sparked at an early age when he was attending his first Scottish Championship in 1975, while a trombonist with Whitburn Junior Band.

Years later, while completing a degree in actuarial mathematics and statistics, and embarking on an actuarial career, Gordon thought about the possibility of a ranking system for brass bands. By this time, he was enjoying helping Whitburn make its own mark on the brass band scene with a glorious run of success under Major Peter Parkes.

By 1990, Gordon’s dad Archie - who also served as Whitburn Band Secretary for many years - was working as the Scottish correspondent for Brass Band World, a new monthly magazine at the time.

Archie was chatting to the editor Bob Mulholland, and mentioned that Gordon had extensive brass band records and had created a methodology for ranking bands based on their contest results. Bob jumped at the chance to publish a monthly brass band ranking, and what was to become the ranking system and website was born.

Even by 1990, results were rarely published in full and were often difficult to obtain. Fortunately for Gordon, Bob was very much on the same page and, with Archie’s help, set about persuading contest secretaries across the globe to release full results of brass band competitions.

The Brass Stats website has now been live for over a decade and serves as a permanent and growing archive for both brass band rankings and the underlying contest results, which will hopefully perk interest in fellow enthusiasts of statistics for many years to come.

Whitburn Band Chairman Charlie Farren said: “Everyone at Whitburn Band would like to congratulate Gordon on his special and fully deserved award from SBBA. Gordon and his dad Archie have long been associated with Whitburn Band, and we are very pleased that Gordon was awarded for his work on the Brass Stats website.”

Gordon said: “It’s been a real labour of love to source and collect contest results over many years, and then even more so to put the website together as a permanent archive of both the results and the rankings, and I genuinely appreciate the recognition from SBBA for my efforts.”

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