A FORMER bandmaster has been awarded the BEM for services to the community.

Jeffrey Baker, 72, led the Salvation Army Band in his hometown of Consett.

Originally appointed as Young People’s Bandleader in 1965, his award said he been ‘an inspiration to his community’.

His role includes being a senior lay official in the SA church, fundraiser, personnel officer, event organiser as well as being a musician.

He has taught many young people how to play instruments, many of whom went on to become young soldiers and progressed to become members of the Consett SA band.

For twenty years, he has organised concerts named “Christmas with the Salvation Army”, raising thousands of pounds for many charitable organisations, including Alzheimer’s UK, Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Care, Macmillan Nurses, Hexham Oncology Unit, hospice support and many others.

In 2006, he helped form a Christmas toy appeal to distribute gifts to disadvantaged children across Derwentside.

Under his leadership Consett SA band has provided music in support of “Friends of Durham Cathedral” annual carol concert, raising thousands for the upkeep of the cathedral.

Consett SA band cut its first CD in 2010, which became the SA’s highest selling CD in the brass band world.