Graham Dawson – From West to East


I was born in Farnworth, near Bolton, Lancashire on 2nd July, 1946 where I lived in a back-to-back with an outside toilet (brings back memories doesn’t it ?). Sadly my father died when I was only 10 years old so I very quickly became the ‘man of the house.’ Nevertheless I shared a happy childhood with my elder sister and my mother who worked ridiculous hours as a cone-winder in a textile mill in order to put food on the table. Those were the days!

In my teenage years all I ever wanted to do was to become a professional footballer. Believe it or not I used to captain a team where the famous Alan Ball couldn’t get a game. If truth be known I probably was not good enough to make the grade as a professional but I did fairly well as an amateur until a long list of injuries eventually took their toll.

In the world of work I started my career in 1964 with the Aliphatic Research Company (then part of the Geigy Group) as a Research Chemist. At the same time I studied at night-school in order to gain a professional qualification. In 1972 I switched counties and joined Allied Colloids in Bradford as a Technical Sales Representative. Shortly afterwards, on 19th October, 1974 to be precise, I met Susan to whom I proposed just two weeks later, much to everyone’s surprise. We married on 5th July,1975 and were blessed with our only daughter Catherine on 19th April, 1977.

When first married we lived in Woodlesford, near Leeds, then in 1982 moved to Holmfirth in order to be nearer to our ageing parents who still lived ‘over the border’ in Lancashire. It is here in Holmfirth that we have had, and are still having, the happiest times of our lives. Long may this continue to be the case.

As far as music is concerned my Christian up-bringing meant that my formative years were spent as a member of a Church Choir, graduating from an ‘angelic treble’ at the age of 8 to a ‘troublesome tenor’ at the age of 19 (some things never change).  Concurrently I sang with my school choir at Farnworth Grammar School which formed part of the Lancashire Youth Choir, performing on several occasions at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.

It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that I had the opportunity to sing again when a group of us were encouraged to form the ‘Allied Colloids Sales Voice Choir’ in order to raise money for Children in Need. Flushed with success I was invited to join a Choral Society in Bradford. Unfortunately for me this was a mixed choir with approximately 30 Sopranos, 25 Altos, 15 Basses and 5 Tenors, including myself and Selwyn Hill. Needless to say, due to choice of repertoire and being greatly outnumbered, my second Tenor voice could not withstand the rigours of first Tenor demands, so after a few months I had to look elsewhere as my vocal chords were starting to suffer. This was in October 1991 and luckily for me our new neighbour, a Mr. Len Williams, invited me to join a few boys from the local pub (Duke of Leeds) for a singsong. From November 1991 to around March 1992 we met for rehearsals at Lydgate School. During this period some of our wives were convinced that we were part of a card school at the pub and singing was the furthest thing from our minds.We then invited our wives to join us for dinner at the Durker Roods Hotel, Meltham, where we proceeded to carry out our very first performance as New Mill Male Voice Choir. The rest is history!