The story of amateur orchestral playing in Lytham St Annes dates back to 1961 when the late Harry Wrigley formed a String Orchestra.  This was quickly expanded to include woodwind and brass sections, thus enabling a more varied programme to be performed at its annual concert.  The orchestra also accompanied the Lytham Vocal Society for their two annual concerts at Lowther Pavilion in Lytham and soon the combined group became known as the Lytham St Annes Vocal and Orchestral Society.


At this time, the Society was also granted permission by the College of Further Education to incorporate rehearsals as evening classes within the Lancashire Education Authority syllabus.  This was established primarily for financial reasons, and the Society managed to retain its identity, running its own affairs and choosing the concert programmes.  The only stipulation was that the choir rehearsed on Tuesday evenings, and the orchestra on Wednesday evenings.


This arrangement continued for over a decade through to the mid-1970s until ill health forced Harry Wrigley to stop as Musical Director.  With the orchestra without a conductor, its future was uncertain.  It was then at a chance meeting between John Simpson (who had previously played viola in the orchestra) and a senior lecturer at the College when it was suggested John take over as conductor.


In 1982, Margaret Langley, a bassoonist in the College of Further Education Orchestra as it was then known said that the orchestra should be renamed to something more succinct.  Everyone present at that rehearsal agreed, and so ‘Fylde Sinfonia’ was born.


Over a period of nearly 30 years, John has had the help of several conducting assistants including Martin Walsh, John Reeman and Stuart Longley, but it was in June 2004 that John decided to hand the baton over to Peter Buckley.




  John Simpson (conductor 1975-2004)

  Peter Buckley (conductor 2004-present)



  Choral Society Diamond Jubilee Souvenir Programme (1907-1967)