HAROLD Williams, former secretary to the Lord Mayor of Oxford, has died aged 80.

A passionate musician, Mr Williams spent more than 10 years as conductor of City of Oxford Silver Band, played a selection of brass instruments and also founded the City of Oxford Choir and Oxford Concert Brass.

In 2000 he was awarded the OBE for services to Oxford and Bonn twinning.

Mr Williams was born on February 14, 1935, in Oxford to parents Emys, a factory worker at Pressed Steel, and Mary, a housewife. He was an only child and grew up in Marston Road.

As a boy, Mr Williams went to East Oxford Primary School before going to the Boys’ High School. He graduated in the early 1950s at the age of 16.

After leaving school Mr Williams worked in local government at Oxford’s Town Hall.

He started in the old town clerk’s office, then transferred to the city secretary’s office.

He became the Lord Mayor’s secretary in 1974, at the age of 39, and stayed on until his retirement in 1994.

He took charge of strengthening the links between Oxford and its twinning towns, such as Bonn in Germany and Leiden in the Netherlands.

Mr Williams met his wife Mary Barnes in 1957 as they both attended the same choir in Marston Road, run by Mr Williams’ father. She was 18 and he was 22 at the time. They were married two years later at the Congregational Church in Marston Road.

The newlyweds lived in Headington before moving in 1984 to Horspath, where they spent 16 years.

During their time in Headington they had one son, Paul, in 1960, and a daughter, Sian, in 1962.

The couple lived in a variety of different properties in Oxford before settling in Wheatley, then leaving Oxfordshire altogether for Abergavenny in Wales in 2000.

Mr Williams’ big passion outside work was music, particularly brass.

His wife said he could play nearly all the instruments, having started on the cornet when he was just a boy. He could also play the trombone, the tenor horn and the bass.

He started off in the Pressed Steel Band when he was a teenager then joined the City of Oxford Silver Band, where he later became conductor for more than 10 years. In 1976 Mr Williams set up the City of Oxford Choir, which is still going strong today.

The Lord Mayor at the time, William Fagg, was approached by a male voice choir in Leiden, which was interested in setting up links with an Oxford choir.

The Lord Mayor approached Mr Williams and he quickly roped in his wife to help.

In the 1970s Mr Williams formed Oxford Concert Brass with several friends.

It is still running today and recently merged with Kidlington to become Oxford and Kidlington Concert Brass.

Mr Williams also belonged to the Rotary Club in Oxford and Abergavenny. He received a Paul Harris Fellowship for his work.

Mr Williams died on October 10 after suffering pneumonia.

He is survived by his wife, now 75, his son and daughter and two grandchildren, George, 22 and Daisey, 21.

A funeral service will be held in Abergavenny on October 27 but the family will also be coming to Horspath on Friday, October 30, to host a get-together from 6pm to 10pm at Horspath Hub at the Old Chapel, in The Green, Oxford Road.

Everyone who knew Mr Williams is welcome to attend.