Tony Howell has received his commendation from the Lieutenant Governor Sir John Lorimer for his long and dedicated service to popular music in the island.
The Governor’s Commendation is an award made personally by the Lieutenant Governor in recognition of significant contribution to island life.
He was awarded the commendation in December as part of the King’s New Year’s Honour’s List, but received the award this month.
Tony, who is widely known as Flash, has been a key figure in the island’s music scene for the last 60 years.
He is a self-taught guitarist and started to play the instrument at the age of 18 in the Globe Public House, Strand Street, in 1963.
He has played in hotels and clubs in every town, and village halls all over the island, including the Snaefell Summit.
Tony is so well-known in the island to the extent that in the past, he received mail which was addressed only as ‘Flash’, Willaston.
He has been in a number of support acts at the Villa Marina and Palace Lido, supporting musicians such as Manfred Man, Rolling Stones, Duane Eddy, and more, mixing with them and talking to them about everything from Manx anecdotes to serious guitar work.
Over the years, he has played in most locally known bands, including the Cheetahs, Black Mass, Whiskey Mac, and The Heap (with Trevor Ball).
He still plays for the Hunters, a band that he has been with for the past 30 years.
He has juggled his music career, with his full-time job at Howell and Robinson, the family firm of sign-writers.
After Tony’s retirement from the firm he volunteered as an assistant in a Douglas charity shop in spite of a rather severe stroke which he had at the age of 68.
Since his recovery, he has continued playing with the Hunters where he can still be seen performing at the Royal British Legion Club, The Sidings in Castletown and at local events such as Castletown Carnival among others.
Government House said: ‘Over the years he has unstintingly brought enjoyment to a great number of people.
‘Today, at the age of 76, Tony is still a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on the British and American pop music culture.
‘Tony is well-known locally and is the most old school type of gentleman that it has been this island’s pleasure to know.
‘Without doubt, recognition of his services is richly deserved.’
Government House added: ‘His Excellency, also a keen music lover, enjoyed chatting with Tony about his memories of the Manx music scene, before formally presenting his well-deserved award.’