The Wyre Levee Stompers
Outside his professional career as a Doctor of Medicine the late Andy Gardner's chief claim to fame is to have had a pub named after him. Although he could convince few people of this, all acknowledged his outstanding contribution to jazz in the Fylde when he took the Wyre Levee Stompers to the Gardener's Arms. The band was founded in 1974 with a nucleus of members from a Big Band night-school class. That year marked a phase of local government reorganisation and since most members lived in the borough of Wyre, named after the river, the band gained its name. Their first residency was at Thornton-Cleveleys R.U.F.C. and after a few early years wandering in the wilderness settled at the Gardener's Arms, Fleetwood Road North in Thornton. The band is well known in the North West having played many gigs throughout the area. Musical policy is based on a sound foundation of New Orleans material, but Hoagy Carmichael and Ellington numbers are also amongst those featured. Indeed, the extent of the band's repertoire is greatly admired. This is seen on their studio-recorded cassettes and the performances they have given by invitation : to play alongside the U.S.A.A.F. Big Band to accompany church services and to perform at Rossall School, one of the country's leading public schools, in their annual series of concerts which normally feature renowned classical musical groups and soloists. The musicians have a real affection for the music they perform and their enthusiasm and humour has helped to build up a big following of fans in the area.
06/09/13 - The band played every Thursday night at The Wings Club, Victoria Road, Cleveleys near Blackpool for 20 years, but have now moved to the Ashley Club, in Thornton. They also play in the afternoon on the 1st Sunday in the month at the The North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood.
22/04/10 - Les Keating recently decided to leave the band, and his place has been taken by Willie Barrow.
April 2014 - Ron Melling retired from the band, his place taken by Alan Riley.
April 2019 - Alan Riley passed away
July 2019 - John Lewin passed away.
Photographs by Keith Wadeson
NEW CD RELEASED IN 2014
Baby Won't You Please Come Home
The Album costs £5 from the band on
Thursdays at Ashley Club , or North Euston Hotel 1st Sundays in the