Now it’s time to celebrate the release of Love’s story at Todmorden’s Geoff Love Centenary Weekend, September 2 and 3

Geoff Love, right, with Johnny Pearson and Shirley Bassey at Abbey Road studios, September 1959. Picture from the book courtesy of Bill Francis, FlairPhotos
Geoff Love, right, with Johnny Pearson and Shirley Bassey at Abbey Road studios, September 1959. Picture from the book courtesy of Bill Francis, FlairPhotos

Books are ready to buy, walk maps printed, the cinema projector primed and bands are ready to start playing - it’s time to salute Geoff Love!

Todmorden will celebrate the centenary of the birth of one of its honorary citzens with plenty to see and do over Saturday, September 2, and Sunday, September 3, recalling the amazing life of the Todmorden-born musician, bandleader and arranger, who died aged 73 in 1991. Brought up in hard times in 1920s Todmorden, Geoff went on to achieve worldwide fame and never forgot his home town.

A number of members of Geoff’s family are expected at some of the events, including Saturday night’s Todmorden Town Hall concert featuring Calderdale Big Band who will provide sounds for listening, watching and dancing at a venue he appeared at many times.

The centrepiece of Saturday events will be the launch of Bill Birch’s new biography of Geoff, which will be on sale for the first time at a signing session at Todmorden Town Hall between 2pm and 4pm.

“A special celebration cake has been provided for the occasion by Oddie’s bakery, Todmorden, with the message ‘Geoff Love, 1917-2017 - England’s Mr Music’. Civic guests will speak and many large scale reproductions of photographs from the book, A Love Affair With Music, can be viewed on display boards put together by Bill and his nephew Dan to showcase its high quality,” said an organising committee spokesperson.

“Calderdale Youth Jazz Orchestra will play using Todmorden U3A’s PA and Todmorden WI members will provide refreshments - so the afternoon is a real town effort. To cap it all, if you buy a book during the session you can choose a free Geoff LP from the collection Bill has accumulated during his research and which he has kindly agreed to let go to in-person book buyers while stock lasts. Along with the book, these demonstrate the amazing range of styles Geoff mastered and wide range of top-level artists, including Shirley Bassey and Judy Garland, that he worked with, as well as his own million selling music.

“It’s a weekend to remind us of Geoff’s genius and the pleasure his music continues to bring.”

What’s happening, where and when:

Geoff Love weekend events begin at 11am on Saturday with the free guided walk around Geoff Love’s Todmorden, with glossy walk maps also available for just £1.

Saturday afternoon’s book signing runs from 2pm, soundtracked by Calderdale Youth Jazz Orchestra and all are welcome. Author Bill Birch will be signing copies of A Love Affair With Music (£20), a high quality hardback book packed with around 150 beautifully reproduced images accompanying Geoff’s story.

There are a very limited number of tickets for Saturday night’s Calderdale Big Band concert at Todmorden Town Hall (doors open 7pm) at £10 each remaining at time of going to press - log on to www.visittodmorden to check availability.

On Sunday morning a free Geoff Love themed tour runs at Todmorden Town Hall from 11am.

You can pay on the door (£5, opens 2pm) for Sunday afternoon’s Hippodrome Theatre, Halifax Road, show including a Todmorden Brass Band performance and screenings of Geoff’s This Is Your Life and The Brass Beat television programmes.