A CELEBRATED former conductor of the Roberts Bakery Band has died aged 74.

Colin Cranson took up the role at the band – then called the Middlewich Town Band – in 1972 and was musical director for an unprecedented 40 years.

A former solo euphonium of Fodens, Colin helped secure long-term sponsorship from Rudheath-based Roberts Bakery and led the band to an excellent competitive record.

The band wrote on Facebook: “As well as leading the band and progressing them through the sections he also forged links with Lions Youth Band that are strong as ever today, a legacy of his strong beliefs in the development of youth music.

“Many current players of the Band are testimony to this, having started their banding experience through these opportunities.

“Many in the brass band community of south Cheshire and beyond will remember with fondness Colin’s unique phrases and musical direction.”

Colin lived in Sandbach, where the band rehearses. He also taught brass at Rudheath High School.

Following his death, a rendition of the hymn ‘St Clements’ was played at Roberts Bakery Bandroom in memory of Colin.

The band added: “We’re sure many more will be played in coming weeks as a mark of respect of a real character and genuine bandsman.”

Tributes have poured in from across Cheshire, the brass band community and beyond, with organisers of a German festival posting their condolences on social media.

The post said: “We also remember many great moments with Colin Cranson.

“At the Europäisches Blasmusikfestival (European Brass and Wind Music Festival) he gave everything and inspired the audience. Sad that he has left the stage forever.

“We from Bergmannsblasorchester Kurbad Schlema mourn with his family and the musicians of the Roberts Bakery Band.

“Colin, you will not be forgotten in Bad Schlema.”