Trombone - 1951 to 1953
Nora Lord was
born in Lytham-St.Anne's in 1934 and spent her childhood in Blackpool.
She had piano lessons from 7 years old, and at 13 joined the Norman
Memorial Youth Silver Band learning Trombone from Maurice Fowler who
was a former colleague and friend of "Digger" Benson.
Nora joined Ivy Benson in February 1951at the same time as Dorothy
England . They were the 'kids in the band' and digged together and
have been lifelong friends ever since. Nora toured with Ivy playing
at British and American Army and Air Force Bases in the Middle East
and Europe and especially Germany when Ivy became very popular with
the German audiences.
There were Autumn and Spring tours of the British Isles with 'one
night stands' for dances, weeks of Variety Shows, and Sunday Concerts.
The summers of 1951 and 1952 were spent at Butlins. Nora was playing
the summer season of 1953 with Ivy at the '400' Ballroom in Torquay
when she met Frank Dixon, Trombonist with the Stanley Black Orchestra
playing at the Spa Ballroom.
They were married
the following year in Torquay when both were playing the same venues.
Nora left Ivy at the end of the season, but returned the following year
for a short while to the Villa Marina until Ivy found a replacement.In
1956 Nora and Frank moved to Blackpool when Frank became Lead Trombone
with the B.B.C. Northern Dance Orchestra. Daughter Lesley was born in
1957 and daughter Laura in 1964. They then moved to Bury where son John
was born in 1966.
Although a full-time Mum, Nora missed playing Big Band music so she
formed a rehearsal band. This was intended initially to give youngsters
the opportunity for experience. Soon, established semi-pro's joined
and the Nora Dixon Big Band began playing at Bury Palais and many other
local venues. Nora was delighted to welcome on board Dot England, trombone,
Sylvia England, trumpet, and Sylvia's husband Don Hampson on drums.
At this time, she began ' Rythm and Rhyme' classes for four to seven
year olds, and taught brass in local schools.
There was also work with other bands in the Manchester area and she
played at the Palace Theatre with Ken Dodd who called her his 'Auntie
Nellie' on the trombone. Nora played a Pantomime, running for ninety
six shows, at the Opera House with Mary Hopkins playing Cinderella,
Lonnie Donegan, Arthur Askey, and Peter Butterworth were in the cast
Nora became a keen member of Bury Concert Band where her young daughter
Laura played trumpet, and son John played Flute.
There was a happy
re-union with Ivy in 1976 when Nora played with Ivy's Band on the Little
and Large T.V. show,and also on the Album which Ivy recorded at Strawberry
Studios in Stockport.
Nora retired from playing in 1977 and began a new career.
She did three years training in psychiatric nursing then worked in a
Forensic Secure Unit, and followed this with a post of Sister in charge
of a large rehabilitation Ward. She then was a deputy officer in a residential
home for mentally handicapped adults,
In 1984 Nora married Harold Coward. She continued to work in a large
day Hospital for Patients with Mental Health problems and retired in
1988. Her great love will always be Music, especially the sound of the