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Cheltenham Tilley Brothers Band members reunion gathers steam

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

By MICHAEL PURTON

The Tilley Brothers Band

The Tilley Brothers Band

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MUSICIANS who kept post-war Cheltenham swinging are set to be joined by more old friends at their reunion, following a story in the Echo.

Last week we reported that pianist Cyril Skeen and drummer Norman Nicholls were planning to get together again after more than half a decade apart.

After seeing the articles, half a dozen more members of the popular Tilley Brothers Band in the 1950s have contacted Cyril about the reunion.

Cyril, 84, said there had been a fantastic reaction to the stories about the reunion.

He said: "I have had six calls from people who played with the band and some of them will be coming to the reunion. It's great to know that so many of us are still around."

Cyril and Norman lost touch when Norman moved to Australia in the late 1950s, and they are now set to meet again after a chance encounter at a recent Royal Air Force Association dance in Cheltenham.

The wheels were set in motion when Cyril got chatting with an old friend of Norman's at the dance. After exchanging letters, Cyril and Norman eventually spoke on the phone, hearing each other's voices again for the first time since the late 1950s.

Norman, 78, will fly in from Australia at the beginning of next month and Cyril will host the reunion at his home in Hester's Way on March 5.

Cyril, a retired toolmaker, added: "I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again and reminiscing about the old days. We may even be able to play together again."

Norman, 79, went on to have a successful career as a session musician, including playing for Frank Sinatra.

He said he was delighted to reconnect with Cyril.

"I lost contact with the band members, but still have several good friends in Cheltenham dating back to my school days and through them I know that both the Tilley brothers have died," he said.

"I assumed that the other members of the band would also have died," he said.

Twins Peter and Paul Tilley continued their band until 2000.

If you played with the Tilley Brothers Band and want to attend the reunion, call Cyril on 01242 239434.

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