Jazz band leads the tributes in memory of popular musician

A jazz band performs outside Berties, Elland, in memory of the late Brian Herbert
A jazz band performs outside Berties, Elland, in memory of the late Brian Herbert

Tributes have been paid to a former Calder High School deputy headteacher after he passed away last month following a battle with cancer.

Brian Herbert, who was also head of art during his time at the Mytholmroyd school, was a musician for most of his life.

He played guitar and banjo with the Cherry Tree Band during his Leeds City College days and then with the Kalahari Bushmen.

Such was the regard for Brian on the music scene that jazz musicians led a special tribute to him at Berties, Elland, and then formed a farewell parade in his honour.

Born in Loughborough in 1943 to Douglas and Ann Herbert, Brian married Carole Craven in 1970.

They had two children - Martin and Catherine.

The family lived in Wakefield before moving to Halifax.

He and Carole later divorced.

During his teaching career at Calder High, he met his second wife, Giselle Finney, who was head of expressive arts at the school. They were married in 2003 and Brian was like a second father to Giselle’s daughter, Francesca.

Giselle said: “Life with Brian was one glorious adventure after another. The comforting sounds of his singing along to the riffs and melodies he was playing was a constant, heart-warming soundscape to my world and will always be there.

“Full of love, compassion and trust, he faced his demons with tremendous bravery and a determination to squeeze the last drop of enjoyment from every precious moment left to him.

“He brought me a wealth of experiences and wonderful things I will always treasure.

“His laugh is captured in my heart and his mischievous smile is imprinted on my mind forever.”

Brian took early retirement aged 55 and continued his career as a jazz musician until his illness prevented him from doing as many gigs.

He performed in numerous bands over the years and will be missed by so many musicians who became close friends. He died on February 7 , aged 70, after a long battle with metastatic melanoma.