THERE’S just no stopping a talented musician from the Tyne Valley from stealing the show – not even a near-death freak accident while on holiday.

Prudhoe resident Caroline Guirr was badly injured while holidaying in Tenerife in 2018 when the rear door of a passing refrigerator wagon swung open and hit her, causing fractures to three vertebrae, six ribs, her shoulder blade and collar bone.

The multi-instrumentalist remains on the road to recovery since the accident, and her love of music has played an instrumental role in her rehabilitation.

She proved she is made of stern stuff as, representing the Tyne Valley Big Band, she picked up the coveted Adjudicator Award at the 17th Great North Big Band Festival.

Playing bass guitar for the band at the festival, she impressed the adjudicators as the band played four songs as part of the event.

Yet she was just one of the success stories for Tynedale musicians as they made a splash against big band members from across the North.

Tyne Valley Big Band drummer David Johnstone was the man with the fastest hands in the North in 2019 when he was crowned fastest drummer at the festival.

And he retained his crown this year when, as measured by the Mark Jon Bolderson Percussion Foundation which was set up in memory of the Hexham-born drummer who died in 2017, he hit 737 beats in the space of just 30 seconds.

Fellow band member, Dominic Neeson, showed his potential behind the drum set from an early age when he won the Adjudicators Award at the 2016 Sunderland Jazz Festival, and he continues to prove this is the case.

For the second year running, adjudicators for the Mark Jon Bolderson Percussion Foundation selected Dominic for its annual scholarship programme.

The success at the event was just rewards for Tynedale musicians who have competed in all three sections of the festival since 2012.

The Tyne Valley Big Band, a mix of adults and teenagers, contest the open section, the Tyne Valley Big Band compete in the youth section for ages 15 to 19 and the Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble, made up of musicians aged 10 to 16, play in the schools section.

Tyne Valley Big Band, which secured a sponsorship from Wylam Brewery through proprietor, and keen musician, John Boyle was founded in 2011, and continues to go from strength to strength.

The band was founded by well-known trumpeter Dave Hignett, and notable appearances include the Sunderland Big Band Festival, Northumberland County Show, Tynedale Beer Festival, Haydon Bridge Beer Festival and the Blyth and Sunderland Tall Ships events.

Mr Hignett said: “It had always been a dream of mine to form a big band based in Hexham for musicians in the Tyne Valley and, with the help of then artistic director of Queen’s Hall, Geof Keys and the driven John Knapton, we finally realised that dream on September 22, 2011 at West End Church Hall, in Hexham.

“Who would have thought from our humble beginnings, we would now be playing at such local prestigious gigs like this?”