I was tutored for a while in 1951 by a well known Welsh cornet virtuoso named Ted Lewis. He had won several cups for his playing and he had them displayed on his piano in Eastern Avenue, Enfield, North London. His talk about what he'd done in the music world was inspirational for me and to my surprise he seemed to find my playing quite acceptable to his ear, for my age. I was 15 at the time. I was playing a silver cornet which he had loaned me for practicing with. Mum and Dad couldn't afford much so Ted let me have the lessons for free. Then one day he asked me if my parents would mind if he took me to play in one of the bands where he performed. They were agreeable and I found myself in the band room of an army band belonging to the 7th battalion of the Middlesex regiment in Hornsey, North London. I was given an ill fitting band jacket which technically speaking was a uniform of HM The Queen, plus a bunch of march cards for playing to the parade. We marched out on to the parade ground and halted at one end, ready for the parade proper to start. I was ok at marching in formation because I was a member of the Air Training Corps at school and we had frequently marched in the school playground. When the batallion parade began we played through the usual march repertoire, like Scipio while some flag ceremony took place, then Colonell Bogey as the batallion marched up and down and so on, all the way through the fifteen or so cards that were crammed into my overloaded lyre and my pocket. At one stage the Regimental Colonel inspected the parade but thankfully he didn't inspect the band. We were a pretty ragged lot so I think it was understood among the officers that they always left the band out of inspections. Just as well because it was a criminal offence to impersonate a member of HM forces. The band were the last to leave the parade ground. First on, last off as usual. I wasn't paid for this job but I found it educational and enjoyable anyway. After that try-out Ted took me to play in the orchestra pit with Sadler Wells' ballet in London, then with various dance bands up and down the country. All in all I could not have had a better tutor. I even got paid for some gigs! I joined the Enfield Silver Band soon after and we played on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur's ground in White Hart Lane, North London on Saturdays. I sometimes tell the younger members of my family and their friends that I played for The Spurs. You can imagine their reaction when it was explained that I meant with the band.