REGARDING your article on Durham Gala memories (Echo, Jul 13), I would like to share a few with you.

I was born in 1957 and my father Robert West was an accomplished musician, playing both the piano and the trombone.

He played the first trombone in many local bands, for example, Esh Winning, Langley Park and Ever Ready, and he played in numerous Miners’ Galas.

My earliest memories are in approximately 1964 when my dad, my mam and me would be up early on the day, probably about 4.30 in the morning.

We would then travel to the pit village of the band that he played for, that was when the fun started.

The band would then march around the village waking everyone up with a rousing rendition of music.

If you were asleep when they started, you weren’t when they were finished.

The whole band, and family would then be bussed into Durham, and congregate outside the old County Hospital, and start their march to the racecourse.

Me and my mother Mary, would follow the band to the racecourse, with my mam carrying his trombone case all the way. Oh what days they were.

On arriving at the racecourse, the band would park up on the field, and for a few hours, we had loads of fun and excitement on the show field.

Every year a band was chosen to play at the service in Durham Cathedral, and my dad did a few of those, which were very emotional.

At around 3pm the bands would march off the show field, my mam still carrying my dad’s trombone case, me in tow and leaving everyone to enjoy themselves. I think beer and spirits were involved.

Those were happy days which you can never do again, however the happy memories remain.

In the Gala archives, and The Northern Echo’s archives, there is a photograph of a seven-year-old me, together with a young band member huddling under cover, no shoes and socks on, and with our feet in a puddle of water, and I think we were smiling. Happy days.

Robert West, Durham