Whit Friday Marches 2013

Friday, 24th May 2013 – having left Raunds at 10am and after a further three pick-up stops – everyone was on the coach and heading up the M1 to take part in the famous Whit Friday Marches.

Not long into the journey, the “Boob Crew” shimmied along the aisle with plates of home made sandwiches, sausage rolls and cakes – we never go anywhere without having a picnic on the way there!

The rain was pelting down but we were assured that there would be a change in the weather by 4 o`clock – we were praying that it would but had come prepared with our designer see-through ponchos to keep our newly cleaned pink jackets dry in the event of a downpour.

We arrived at the Premier Inn, Denton at the scheduled time of 2pm to find our usual rehearsal area now a building site – oh no! where are we going to practice our steps??
After a couple of hiccups with the room bookings – the extra room we were allocated on Thursday had disappeared by Friday and our very brave Nigel Bunting (“Nigella”) who had kindly volunteered to join us on bass was in fear of having to kip with some of the “Boobies”. However, two of our supporters had been unable to make the trip due to ill health -  so - much to Nigel`s relief he had a room and was  saved the experience!!! An extra bed was put up in another room so the three girls sharing had a bed each and did not have to sleep together!!. Phew! So glad the girls are always so understanding.

By 3pm all the girls were ready for marching practice – thankfully there was another area of the car park large enough for us to strut our stuff. But – hang on – two were missing. They were delayed due to an accident on the M6. Thankfully, they arrived before we were ready to leave for the circuit.

Full of good humour and excitement – everyone was ready – the `Pink Ladies` - the percussion section in their `little girl` attire – Stan with his colour co-ordinated hot pink tie – the Boob Crew with their Breast Cancer collection pots – our supporters on our extra minibus with Bill Duffield driving and Stuart –  our coach driver  in his specially purchased pink shirt. It is just brilliant that everyone makes the effort to show their support!!!

We were off!!  Our first destination was to be Grotton and on the way we picked up Graham, our guide for the evening.  The skies were not looking too promising so out came the ponchos – all one size – there was not much room left in Stan`s !!!!!

This year we marched down the streets to Brian Sanders` arrangement of `Thank Heaven for Little Girls` (hence the theme in the percussion section) and our contest march was `Muhledorf`` - which was written by Derek Broadbent for a Swiss band of the same name. Graham of Kirklees Music suggested this to us and very kindly donated the set of music – many thanks Graham!!

We continued round the circuit and played at Lydgate, Greenfield, Diggle, Uppermill, Lees and Delph. 

By the third village, the clouds had receded and the ponchos were discarded but it was still very chilly but this still could not dampen the enthusiasm or take the smiles off the faces of these remarkable ladies including “Nigella” who got a bit of stick – all good humoured!

Everywhere we went, the reception was absolutely fantastic and so supportive. Quite a few recognised us from the Ashley Banjo`s Secret Street Crew TV programme. One little girl was shouting “I loved your dancing” – we went over to her and spoke to her – she was so excited – it had made her day – she had met TV stars !!!!  Stars?? No - we are just `brass banders` -  but she thought we were really special.

What a wonderful atmosphere. It is so refreshing to see fellow bandsmen/women enjoying themselves and supporting each other at this Great British brass band tradition. Whatever level of banding you play at – it does not matter – the Whits are something that should continue forever and every bandsman/woman should experience at least once!

We had hoped to end the night at Austerlands – especially as they had included a great two page article about us in their magazine – but sadly there were too many bands already waiting so instead we headed back to the hotel, calling on the way at Graham`s local pub where we gave them a verse of our street march and `happy birthday` for one of his drinking pals. As a thank you to Graham, we presented him with a signed photo of “Boobs & Brass” for his continued support.

The hotel staff had been pre warned and our sausage and chips were waiting for us. Time for the raffle  – organised by Chris and Pete who provided most of the prizes themselves – many thanks to both of you and for raising another fantastic amount - £200.15 – don`t know where the 15 p came from but every penny helps!!

After a few drinks, out came the accordion with – of course – Mairi and the singing and dancing began. I`m not sure what Stan thought of the `demure Pink Ladies` but his comment of - `I though Jane was quiet` - !!!! – said it all.  Mind you – I think the Pink Ladies saw another side of Stan – his Cossack dancing, his leadership in `I am the music man` and then `Who Killed Cock Robin?` Well – the rest is secret – we will leave it to your imagination.  What a night – just good, clean fun and laughter.

It is such a pleasure to be amongst such a great crowd of people who, individually, in their own way, contribute something to this unique concept.

Unfortunately, the staff sent us to bed at around 2am – perhaps that was just as well!!!

Next morning, I for one had a few aching limbs and I know I was not the only one!!!

Of course, this evening would not have happened without the help and support of many people so –
Special thanks to Malcolm  Vincent at Lifeplus UK Ltd for his continued financial support.
Thanks to – all the “Boobies”, Stan, “Nigella”, Stuart, Bill, The “Boob Crew” team, Graham and Kirklees Music, Graham.
Last but not least – thank you to the people at the Saddleworth villages who contributed to the £409.62 donations in the pots which is being sent to Breast Cancer Campaign towards the research project we are currently funding.

Thank you all for `being part of the cure`. Maggie          

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