I was born in 1936 in Chester; I joined the Ivy Benson Orchestra in 1957 and I always remember her first words to me were "Do you have to wear those glasses all the time?"

I played Trombone with the Band until leaving in 1958. I then played in practice bands and aspiring new All Girl Bands, which often didn't materialise into "employed" Girl Bands! One example was the Lesley Southern Sextet which went out on tour to France in 1959. Lack of practice led to this and other new groups failing to get repeat bookings.

In 1960 I was asked to audition for the Lena Kidd Seven and we were off to Switzerland. Lena played Tenor Sax with Ivy and later with the Gracie Cole Band. Gracie had retired to bring up her family and Lena had created the "Seven".

There was Rosemary Conn (Trumpet), Hazel Hancock (Alto), me on Trombone, with Lena on Tenor. The rhythm section was Ida Silvester (Piano), Una Mellor (Bass), and Pat Sheridan (Drums).

I left the Band in 1962 and shortly afterwards Lena disbanded and retired.I joined the "C Clefs", a small band fronted by Celia Fryar who had been Drummer with Dinah Dee.

In 1964 I left the "C Clefs" which co-incided with Mecca and Rank sacking their resident musicians in dancehalls all over the country. Dance Bands were being overtaken by Beat Groups and Rock 'n Roll! The writing was on the wall and I decided to seek alternative employment.

I moved into Education eventually attending Manchester University where I obtained a BA in 1969. I taught English in Comrehensive schools from 1970, and retired in 1992. In 1994 I joined "Age Concern" in a voluntary capacity.

Anne Blair
played Trombone
1957 to 1958