It was with great delight and pleasure that on Monday 7th January the choir was able, once again to wish its oldest chorister a forthcoming happy birthday by enthusiastically singing the tune ‘Happy Birthday’ to Bill Nash.
Bill will be celebrating his unbelievable 96th birthday on Wednesday 9th January which surely must make him the oldest male voice chorister in Wales still actively and regularly singing. A highlight of his year was to be presented to HRH Prince Charles when the choir was honoured to sing at the Prince’s celebration of his 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace last May.
Bottom bass Bill makes the journey to practice from the centre of Bristol to Caldicot twice a week aided by his family and is still able to make it to many of our concerts.
Bill was born in Llanharan in 1923 to later sing with his father and brothers in Llanharan Male Voice Choir and attend Cowbridge Grammar School from where he left at 16 years old to serve in the RAF before and during the second World War as an aircraft fitter. He served in North Africa, Italy, South Africa and other countries before moving to Gloucester after the war and then to Bristol in 1952 to work many years for the British Aircraft Corporation and where he has lived since. He sang in Redland Male Choir in Bristol for many years before joining Caldicot Male Voice Choir in 1970.
He has, in his long history of about 80 years of male choral singing, sung in every section of a male voice choir. An incredible, probably unequalled record.
Bill has an incredible knowledge and expertise as a chorister and is always willing to pass on his experiences to younger and new members of the choir, not to mention our musical team.
The top photograph shows Bill with his daughter Sharon (his other children being Andrew, Jane, Ellen and Anne) at Buckingham Palace and the lower shows him being presented with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement award and conferred as an Honorary Vice President of Caldicot Male Voice Choir at a special presentation by John Griffiths AM and Musical Director Siân Hatton at our Annual Concert in April 2014.
Many happy returns and best wishes for a happy birthday and celebration on Wednesday, Bill.
Coincidentally Bill shares his birthday with fellow chorister second tenor Mike Thurman who is a comparative youngster at 71 who was also congratulated at practice. Many happy returns to both.
Footnote. Roy Noble paid a tribute to Bill on his BBC Radio Wales show on Sunday 20th January 2019 and played Alexander’s Ragtime band sung by the choir. Reports were also published in the South Wales Argus and the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review.