After many years in the Armed Forces in India, Bill came home, settled in Sussex and lived near Rusper and then moved to Balcombe. He was a pub musician and singer. His simultaneous playing of harmonica and tambourine as he played dance tunes and songs for people to join in with made him a pub favourite. The landlord of the pub at Balcombe used to call on Bill to come along to his pub to entertain the customers as soon as he got a crowd in. He used to play with Scan Tester and was very highly rated by Gordon Hall who called him “a jolly good turn”. He often attended the Songswappers Club in Horsham in later years.
He plays on three of the tracks on the double CD compilation of recordings of Scan Tester. I Never Played To Many Posh Dances Topic TSCD581D (2 CD, UK 2009)
He is also heard on the Musical Traditions double album, Just Another Saturday Night: Sussex 1960 MT CD 309-10. The booklet notes on that album say of him “William Agate was probably the first English player of simultaneous mouthorgan and tambourine that we second-generation revivalists ever heard – and he made quite an impression in terms of gusto and singularity.”
(Vic Smith 2016)