Bill Doherty, 1936 - 2010

The Solent Area Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Chris Kennett) mourns the loss of Bandsman Bill Doherty, who passed away on 2 August 2010. Doherty, until prevented by illness, played solo and first horn with the Fellowship Band.

Doherty’s funeral and thanksgiving service was held at Portsmouth Citadel on Monday, 16 August 2010, with a packed hall. The service was conducted by Lt.-Colonel Gilbert Ellis, who grew up with Doherty in their home corps of Hanwell, West London. A moving tribute was given by another childhood friend and associate of the Fellowship Band, David Shaw, alongside a tribute from Doherty’s daughters. Colonel Ellis remarked, on looking around the congregation and seeing so many former colleagues from Hanwell that “Hanwell Corps hadn’t closed, it had just moved elsewhere!” Those present were a fitting tribute to the esteem with which Doherty was held.

Doherty was born in Whitechapel, East London in 1936. During the war, the family moved to the slightly safer district of Hanwell. This began a long association with that area for both work and worship. Doherty was a coppersmith in Southall, but when that company closed in 1979 he embarked on a completely different career with the Department for Health and Social Security, retiring in 2003.

Doherty was an active member of the Salvation Army in Hanwell, making his way through the junior sections and taking his place in the band and songsters. In 1968, he married Thelma, who also soldiered at the Hanwell Corps, and they went on to have two children, Lorraine and Jacqueline. When the Hanwell Corps closed, the Dohertys soldiered for a short while at Hillingdon before retiring to Waterlooville and transferring to Portsmouth Citadel. In addition to his service with the Fellowship Band, Doherty was also a member of the Portsmouth Citadel Band and Songsters.

In tribute to Doherty, a small party from the Fellowship Band attended at the crematorium and the full band took part in the thanksgiving service, playing before and after and contributing during the service with Swedish Folk Song (Peter Graham). It was a mark of respect that almost everyone in the band was able to attend. Supplemented by former colleagues of Doherty, the group only just fit on the platform.

It was fitting, with Doherty’s character and his affirmed Salvationism, that the last piece the band played for him was Norman Bearcroft’s rousing march To Regions Fair.

Solent Area Fellowship Band web site