Saxophonist Ernie a star of local showbands scene

Ernie Singleton pictured with a photograph of The Jimmy Johnston Showband taken in the early 1960s approx.

Ernie Singleton pictured with a photograph of The Jimmy Johnston Showband taken in the early 1960s approx.

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Lisburn musician Ernie Singleton, one-time star of the local showbands scene, has died , aged 76, within weeks of his former band leader.

In the early 1960s Ernie played saxophone in Lisburn’s Jimmy Johnston Showband, entertaining on both sides of the Irish border.

The Jimmy Johnston Showband (circa early 1960s) - Harvey Bicker, Davy Greenfield, Joan Bell (singer), Jimmy Johnston, Maurice Beckett,  Will Gibson (guitar), Ernie Greer (drummer) and Ernie Singleton (saxophone).

The Jimmy Johnston Showband (circa early 1960s) - Harvey Bicker, Davy Greenfield, Joan Bell (singer), Jimmy Johnston, Maurice Beckett, Will Gibson (guitar), Ernie Greer (drummer) and Ernie Singleton (saxophone).

The showbands scene having fallen victim to The Troubles, frontman Jimmy was to become a hotel manager and later a music promoter; he died, aged 77, in recent weeks.

Ernie Singleton came to Jimmy’s band having previously played in the Jimmy Harrison Band in the 1950s.

The skilled saxophonist - an electrical engineer by trade - was known too in the marching bands fraternity, playing with Blaris Accordion Band in the 1950s and with Lower Ballinderry Accordion Band, of which he was also the conductor, in the 1970s.

A keen horse rider, he was heavily involved with Riding for the Disabled.

Predeceased in 1999 by his wife Gloria, Ernie is survived by son Ryan, daughters Gina, Lynn and Janette, grandchildren Leonie and Lee, Jerome, Evan, James, Tom, Nathan, David, Michael and Eloise, great-grandchildren Bella and James, brother Robert and sisters Gwen and Arlene (Australia).