01-Oct-2017: Ric Stewart:
The Beeston Obituary List continues. Not one of our direct members but a friend of the band - Ric Stewart, the Secretary of the Midlands Branch, has passed away suddenly. Details gleaned from the branch website tell us that the funeral will be held at
2pm, Wednesday, 11th October at Lodge Hill Crematorium, Weoley Park Road, Birmingham, B29 5AA
Anyone who knew Ric and of his work for the branch is welcome to attend, we feel sure.
17-Mar-2017: We have now lost Ken Wright:
Things have been a bit quiet on the news front lately but it is with a heavy heart that my first report of 2017 must be of yet another personal loss. The member in question is one of the band's founding members - Ken Wright. Ken had not been in the best of health for some time now but the news of his passing will still come as a shock to many people in the English pipe band scene. Ken was the piping brother of former L/D John Wright and the uncle of current L/D David Wright. Ken's last position in the band was as P/M of the Grade 4 band some years back. Our condolences go to all the family. John has asked me to post that, for anyone interested in attending, Ken's service and funeral will be held at
BRAMCOTE CREMATORIUM on THURSDAY, 23RD MARCH 2017 AT 09:30
If we receive any further updates they will be posted here.
26-Oct-2016: Practice Location:
Details from Fi about the first official practice:
" Hi all. A venue for the practice on Sunday 30th October has now been confirmed. The venue is the Polish Eagle Club, 2 Sherwood Rise, Nottingham, NG7 6JN.
Practice will start at 10.30 and continue until 3pm latest (with a short break for lunch in between). The bar will be open for refreshments and there is food available to order afterwards if required.
Following on from the brief discussion about uniform we had at the last gathering, if anyone has socks or waistcoats/jackets of different colours that you think may go well with the kilt if you could bring them with you I'll bring a kilt and we can see what works with regards to new kit.
Look forward to seeing you there. Not sure of the format for practice but assume you will need chanters and pads at the very least.
If you have any questions please contact either myself, Syd or Dave.
See you soon,
10-Oct-2016: Beeston Re-Launch Confirmed
At the meeting held yesterday to investigate the possibility of re-launching the band it was agreed there were sufficient numbers and enthusiasm to make a go of it. HOORAY! The first practice has been agreed for SUNDAY, 30TH OCTOBER from 10:30 until 15:00 (that's 3pm for the youngsters) with exact venue to be confirmed as soon as possible; keep an eye here, folks - I'll let you know as soon as I know!
Here is the official announcement:
"We are pleased to announce that following a get together of original band members and new interested parties the Beeston pipe band is officially back!!
More news to follow over the coming weeks but we are actively seeking pipers and drummers of all abilities to join us. First practice is scheduled for 30th October (venue tbc).
If you are interested or want further information please contact or via this website. "
25-Sep-2016: Beeston Re-Launch - Sunday, 9TH October
The majority vote has been cast and it is decided that the date for the re-launch meeting is SUNDAY, 9TH OCTOBER.
11-Sep-2016: BEESTON RE-LAUNCH MEETING
Good News for a change! We said we'd be back and, hopefully, the first step in doing so is about to be taken. For those of you who have not yet heard on the grapevine the following is a message received this morning from Syd Charles:
"Re-Launch: Beeston Pipe Band. 8th or 9th of October at the Nottingham Knight pub on the A52 at 3pm. All welcome. Please let me know your preference (Saturday or Sunday) and we will go with the majority. Dave and I look forward to seeing you there."
You may use the following link to send an email to Syd:
If you are a drummer and prefer to contact Dave:
Please pass the word in case someone we know has not yet had the opportunity to learn of these developments. If nothing else we can have a quiet drink together, discuss the latest season and look forward to 2017 but the more people who can show up on the day the more positive the committee can proceed.
As Syd says in the message ALL are welcome - whether you are a former member/supporter or a potential new member to the fold the views and aspirations of all will have a chance to be aired so decisions about the next steps can be made. Come on lads and lasses - let's get Beeston back out there...
17-Jul-2016: Beeston Carnival success
The 2016 Carnival was its usual success. The band managed to put out a reasonable rota of members and friends (6 pipers, 6 sides, bass and 2 tenors) and everyone managed to reach from one end of the High Street to the other without requiring any medical assistance! I suspect there may have been a couple of aching backs in the side corps on Sunday morning, though. The drum salute taxed a couple of foggy memories (you'll be old some day) but we managed to put on a good enough display for the good folks of Beeston once more. Special mention must go to one guest in particular - Jacob Wright, son of L/D David, marched and played with his dad in the side corps all through our two performances; having been there myself with my two lads, Cailean and Connor, I know just how proud David was on the day.
One little blot on the landscape of the entire day (amusing now in hindsight) was the fact that the band members returned to their cars in the council car park on Devonshire Avenue to discover everyone had been served with a parking ticket for parking in a car park which had been officially closed for the day. The irony was that the car park was closed FOR US! Every year for the last several years we (and other parade participants) have been allocated this area for preparation at the start of the parade. We must thank our colleague and council liaison Pat Lalley for taking immediate charge of the situation and promising to ensure this stain as major criminals will be removed from our records!!
12-Jun-2016: Beeston Carnival 2016 on the way
It is a sad fact that the many players and friends of the Beeston & District Pipe Band Society have few opportunities these days to all get together. One of these few events, the annual Beeston Carnival, is once more due to take place on Saturday, 9th July. As many old Beeston players (and often nowadays guest players from other bands) as are available and can be organised (practice? what practice? :) ) will meet and lead the carnival parade on the day. Further details of meeting times and places will be posted here as we obtain them. Start working on the "positive vibes" for good weather now, folks!
10-Feb-2016: Jimmy Dungavel and Pete Lockyer
With apologies for the last minute info we can report that the annual Ashbourne Highland Fling this Friday, 12th February, will mark the official retirement of one of Beeston's ex-pipers. Jimmy Dungavel is hanging up his kilt (but I sincerely doubt his 'pipes) as Pipe Major of Ashbourne & District Pipe Band after 29 years in the position. Jimmy has been in deteriorating health for the last few years and obviously could benefit without the stress and strain of such a demanding position. Jimmy's friendship and drive were what persuaded me to leave Beeston shortly after him to become his Leading Drummer at Ashbourne (though I only lasted 11 years!). We had a lot of good times there together and I thank him for that and look forward to attending on Friday to tell him so directly. If anyone else wishes me to pass on their good wishes please let me know and I shall do so. You may to email me your message.
On an even sadder note we were informed this evening of the passing on Feb 2nd of yet another band member from the glory days of the Eighties - Pete Lockyer, a tenor drummer who played along with Roy Sutton, Dennis Tomlinson and bass drummer Bob Goodwin. We have no further details at present (** see update below)- please see the message left by Pete's son, Chris, on the website Guestbook. I am sure I speak for everyone in the band who knew Pete that we feel their loss and have nothing but good memories of those days.
UPDATE 14-FEB-2016: We have learned that Pete's funeral will be held at BRAMCOTE CREMATORIUM on THURSDAY, 18TH FEB AT 10:15 in the SERENITY CHAPEL. All band members and friends are welcome to attend.
16-July-2015: George McCulloch
The doom and gloom of obituary news continues unabated, I'm afraid. It is with deepest regret that this entry must now report the passing of yet another of the band's characters - piper George McCulloch passed away the other week, again well before his time. The following is a copy of the message in the Nottingham Evening Post:
(Originally printed on July 16, 2015 in the Internet - This is Nottingham.)
McCULLOCH George Edward Beloved husband of Sheena, passed away on 6th July 2015 aged 58 years. Will be sadly missed by all the family. The Funeral Service and Cremation will be held at Bramcote Crematorium on Monday 20th July at 1:15pm in the Main (Serenity) Chapel. Flowers or donations, if desired, for the Nightingale Macmillan Unit at the Royal Derby Hospital (payable to "Derby Hospitals Charity 14001") c/o G.T. Edwards Funeral Directors, 126, Nottingham Road, Ilkeston. Tel 0115 9325469.
Hope to see as many as can make it on the day...
Update 20-July-2015: The service went very well. A composite pipe corps of seven pipers under the direction of P/M Pat Larkin of Notts. Police led the hearse up to the chapel and played the coffin inside. Several other past members of Beeston were also in attendance to see George off.
12-July-2015: Beeston Carnival a success
Just a quick word of thanks to all the members and friends who turned out on Saturday to prove Beeston & District still exists and can turn out in public. Coming together as we did with no prior practice and still managing to pull out the magic (and the terror of those singles in the four-fours - thanks Dave) just showed why we do it in the first place. The weather was kind, the drinks were cold and the smiles were ear-to-ear.
The band was slightly overburdened with snare drummers (is that actually possible?) so it was probably just as well everyone who offered to turn up could not in the end. The full drum salute was a tad too far for the failing memory of yours truly (I still managed 95%!!) but the feeling of playing in a corps of like-minded friends once more was well worth the blister. (N.B. All sympathies gratefully received at this website address)
L/D Dave Wright once again proved his versatility later by also leading the drum corps (his pupils) of the local combined Boys' and Girls' Brigade (national prize-winning) band in a further excellent and well-received performance. Verdict - a good day all round.
26-Mar-2015: The passing of Campbell Connet
This website is rapidly turning into an obituary column, sorry. It is with the greatest regret that we must report losing yet another friend. Ian Rathbone reports to us of the sudden loss yesterday of Campbell Connet from a massive brain haemmorhage. Campbell was a piper with this band for several years in the heydays of the Eighties. Personally Lynn and I will always be grateful to him for introducing us to A) the music of Runrig and B) The Macallan - a night of social drinking followed by no hangover at all! He has left us at far too young an age.
The service was on Friday 10th April at Campbell & Eileen's house. A funeral tea was planned afterwards at the Deeside Hotel in Ballater and on the Saturday night there was a Ceilidh locally that Campbell was due to have been playing at; Eileen wanted to make this part of the proceedings.
12-Sep-2014: The passing of Vic Humphries also
Bad news upon bad news, everyone. We have just received a short message to inform us of the sudden passing of Vic Humphries. A second stalwart of the English pipe band scene gone in just a few days. Unbelievable.
07-Sep-2014: The passing of John Dungavel
Yet another of those terrible pieces of news, friends. We have just has a telephone call from James Dungavel, P/M of Ashbourne & District, to inform us of the very sad passing of his father, John, on Friday last. John, 88, had been ill for some time now but managed to keep on piping until only a couple of years ago. Before taking over at Ashbourne James and his dad were both members of Beeston for many years. John was a well-kent figure around the pipe band scene down here in England after moving down from Ayrshire many years ago (c.f. Ayr Pipe Band) and always sported a great big smile come rain or shine. He was always keen to point out he was exactly the same age as Her Majesty the Queen and was quite happy to share his birthday celebrations with her, even if she did hog the majority of the TV and radio mentions for some reason! Even after ceasing to compete and until his decline prevented it John was ever-present at band practice, passing on his decades of experience to a constant stream of learners, both young and old. James himself has recently been suffering ill health and has recently been forced to give up work as a professional driver. Our thoughts go out to him and his family at this trying time.
As soon as any arrangements have been made James will let me know and I shall post them here. I feel sure the family would be more than happy to have as many old friends to attend as can make it and remember John together.
05-Sep-2014: RAF success at The Worlds as well
The winning continues - RAF Waddington & Halton picked up 3rd place at the World Championships in Glasgow! That makes a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at the three "Majors" at which they competed together this year, excellent results in any sphere I'm sure you will agree. Waddo and Halton will next compete at the RAF Championships in a few weeks but against each other this time. The split will be obvious for those members with historical allegiances to one or other band but the final outcome may be decided by the recent additions and which way they choose to side; much of that decision is liable to fall on whether they were with the band last year and already know last year's medley!
Reminder: many of the RAF players are ex-Beeston.
27-Jul-2014: RAF success at Scottish Championships
The rise of the RAF Waddington & Halton band continued at the Scottish Championships held in Dumbarton yesterday - the band managed to secure second place in grade 3A. Their apparently excellent draw on the day (third last to compete) was tarnished by coinciding with the worst of the torrential downpour in the afternoon; despite this they braved their way through it, managed to maintain grip and control on their sticks and 'pipes and turned out a worthy performance all round.
This continues to bode well for the biggie - the World Championships - being held shortly in Glasgow. Hopefully all the excellent atmosphere and publicity of the Commonwealth Games currently washing around the old "Second City of the Empire" will remain long enough to spill over into making this the biggest and best Worlds ever for many reasons. Congratulations, lads and lassies!
Reminder: many of the RAF players are ex-Beeston.
22-Jun-2014: Soldier's Day, Jacksdale
Another scorching day down Jacksdale way today and Beeston & District (with the help of a couple of guest players) were out to see some old friends and commemorate the 5th anniversary of the new war memorial statue we helped to officially inaugurate in 2009. Despite the heat it was decided to wear jackets and, though a mixture of Beeston black and RAF blue, a smart bunch we looked, even if I do say so myself. The ice cold water passed around during the Service was most welcome, I can tell you! Nothing fancy musically on the day but a nice wee job, enjoyed by everyone. Thanks are especially due to a couple of non-Beeston players who helped make up the 6 pipers, bass, 2 tenors and 4 sides on the day. One interesting side note was the makeup of the back rank - two father & son pairs - John & David Wright and then David & Cailean MacLean; a couple of proud dads!
01-Jun-2014: RAF success at Bathgate - British Champions!
We are delighted to report the success of the RAF Waddington & Halton band at the British Championships held in Bathgate yesterday - the band took first place in their grade! Given this was the first outdoor contest of the season and a lot of travelling was involved the hard work of the winter season was repaid in the best possible fashion. Many congratulations to all the players (no-one was dropped on the day) but especially to P/M Iain Westgate who was visibly moved by the success and support of the entire band. A wee, momentary, instantaneous touch of nerves at the start of the performance was probably what cost the drum corps the equivalent first place in drumming but the back line pulled through the one-off slip together and recovered to play well enough to ensure the overall prize. That slip was completely out of the blue and unlikely to happen again so we can look forward to even better results for the rest of the season.
Congratulations to all, especially P/M Iain and L/D Dan!
There have been rumours and gossip floating about recently concerning an oversight on player eligibility; rest assured that everything has now been sorted officially and the paperwork is all now completely up-to-date.
Reminder: many of the RAF players are ex-Beeston.
05-Jan-2014: Provisional arrangements for Jacksdale on June 22nd
We have been advised of some more details regarding the engagement later this year in Jacksdale, extract below for general information:
"The service and parade at Jacksdale War Memorial approx 11am till 12noon.
RBL are organising a road closure. Standard bearers, army cadets, Pye Hill choir, local schoolchildren will be present.
After service - parade to Jacksdale Miner's Welfare approx 100/ 200 yards.
At 1pm events on the field begin, we are hoping that the band will perform there also.
We will not be holding a drum head service after all."
Note: one of the reasons a Drumhead Service is impractical nowadays is that the design of modern drums with their delicate and expensive lower snare mechanisms lays the drums open to the risk of major damage if built into an altar. At nearly £500 per drum the band committee, with regret, could not sanction the use of our drums in this manner. It is hoped that several of our old players will agree to return to support our turnout on the day as they maintain their commitments with their other bands at the moment.
[UPDATE 07-Jun-2014:] We have received further details of the programme for the day and present them here for everyone to see...
Jacksdale 2014 Programme
11-July-2013: Beeston Carnival!
It is that time of year again - the annual Beeston Bash! Many old friends will be getting together once more this Saturday, 13th July, to parade the Ancient MacDonald kilts at the head of the town's parade. The show starts off around 1pm as normal from Foster Avenue, marching through the town to Broadgate Rec for more fun. It has been some time since some of our members have played together - expect many furrowed brows and concentrated looks as we try to remember what comes next!! In addition to old members returning we hope to be joined by many of our friends from the RAF Waddington band to boost the numbers - we thank them in advance for their support. The RAF band will be competing the next day at Corby, including many Beeston players - wish us luck!
The council has once more kindly reserved the car park on Devonshire Avenue for the band to tune up. It should be mentioned to all and sundry that the centre of Beeston has major roadworks in operation for the installation of the new, second tram line to the South West of Nottingham. There are some roads closed off and a few others are one-way but getting to Devonshire Avenue should remain straightforward; as to getting out again... well, personally I think this is simply a ploy to keep people trapped by the shops and stalls to spend even more money! ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME TO NEGOTIATE THE ROADWORKS. Weather should be good - hopefully a good day in prospect for everyone.
We have just learned that one of our former members, piper Pete Tait, has just successfully passed a tough audition session and been accepted into the world-renowned Grade 1 Shotts & Dykehead pipe corps! Our heartiest congratulations (and just a wee tinge of jealousy!) to Pete for all his hard work and ability to have finally paid off.
On another note the sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed a subtle update on the Home Page. The collaboration between Beeston and RAF Waddington has taken yet another development with the effective incorporation of the majority of the membership of RAF Halton into the combined band. It is our understanding that the new P/M is Lenny Browne with Syd Charles stepping aside slightly in deference to Lenny's RAF seniority to support him as his Pipe Sergeant. This new group incorporates three of the strongest bands on the English PB scene into one unit and promises to give good account of itself on the contest fields in 2013. Good Luck, everyone!
17-November-2012: Lead Drummer for 2013
Due to personal and family commitments Dave Wright has decided to take a temporary step back just for this season; Daniel Belfield has volunteered to take the corresponding step forward to lead the drum corps in 2013. The LD link on the Contacts Page will send your message to both worthies so there is no chance of any enquiries slipping through the net! There are several other changes in the pipeline, promising a drum corps to be reckoned with just about anywhere...
03-October-2012: RSPBA Re-Gradings
I am happy to report that the year has ended on a high and that the RAF Waddington Grade 3B band has been promoted to Grade 3A for the 2013 season; congratulations to all members (both directly and indirectly) involved in the band's success. There are several plans and options cooking around with regard to next year, with the possibility of significant changes in certain areas, but rest assured that bumping along the bottom of the new grade is not one of the intentions. The band will aim for the top half and as high as they can achieve in their new grade, as always, following in the spirit of the RAF motto "Per Ardua ad Astra".
16-August-2012: The World Championships
What to say about this year's World Championships? Very little, in order to ensure no-one here ends up with the same sort of ban the RSPBA enforced upon Jim Kilpatrick from Shotts. Plain fact: The RSPBA used compilers who couldn't even count a sequence up to five. In the drumming sub-results instead of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th (are you managing to follow this higher maths?), etc. someone managed to use the sequence 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 6th, etc. Anyone manage to spot the deliberate mistake? Guess which band was altered from 3rd in drumming to 5th the next day. RAF Waddington was awarded 6th place for overall band on the day and has now to return the trophy and cheque after being demoted to 7th. Glenrothes move up to fill the 6th place slot - congratulations to them. The RSPBA have issued a public apology on their website to both bands, under the HQ News section.
And this on top of a terrific performance in the final which saw EVERYONE in the Waddo band come off the field with a huge smile on their faces. They pulled out all the stops and played their best performance of the season, agreed better than the two which secured them 2nd place at both the Scottish and British earlier this year. Time now to just look forward to enjoying the less-pressured environment of the Chatsworth Country Fair to end the season on a more relaxed note.
14-July-2012: Beeston Carnival blessed with good weather
Today's annual Beeston Carnival was very fortunate in having perfect weather for the event. As has become tradition the parade was led by the Beeston & District Pipe Band Society (hey, that's US!), this year containing, as usual, a mixture of mainly old but also one or two few new faces making their debut in the line-up. Even ex-bass drummer Bob Goodwin appeared in the ranks at one point to help ensure his current counterpart, Ronnie Campbell, managed to negotiate the kerb as they entered the park at the end of the march. It is touching how these oldies (but goldies) look after each other. (I'm dead when they read this...) The band's original leading drummer, John Wright, also took his place as ever in the back rank alongside his son, David, and the rest of the corps available on the day. P/M Syd Charles pulled the whole pipe corps together and produced a sound greatly appreciated by all who heard it on the day.
A small selection of photos of the day are now available on the Photos Page.
On a sadder note I am sure I speak for everyone when I say how disappointed everyone on the English PB scene must have been to hear the Ashbourne Highland Gathering had been forced off the calendar by the bad weather of this so-called summer. We can only pray for better luck next year.
09-July-2012: ASHBOURNE 2012 IS CANCELLED
The following is an excerpt from the official website of the Ashbourne Highland Gathering...
"The committee of the Ashbourne Highland Gathering regret to announce that the 2012 Highland Gathering has had to be cancelled.
This is due to waterlogging of the recreation ground and standing water on the car parking areas coupled with the fact that the weather forecast predicts rain every day for the week leading up to the event.
This is not a decision which was made lightly"
This unfortunate news for Ashbourne may hopefully raise the numbers available to attend the Beeston Carnival the day before (still on so far as we know...)
30-June-2012: British Success!
The Beeston/Waddo merger continued the winning ways today by coming second overall in Grade 3B yet again, this time at the British Championships at Annan. The drum corps managed a creditable 4th place to ensure the overall second. Good AND consistent - a winning combination! They had to leave the contest almost immediately after competing to get home to the Midlands for tomorrow's appearance at the annual RAF Waddingtom Air Show - go along and congratulate them (the ones still awake, anyway).
19-April-2012: Scottish Success!
The Beeston/Waddo boys and girls did themselves proud at the Scottish Championships in Dumbarton today by taking second place overall in Grade 3B. And this despite a very early draw on the actual day, partly due to recent late regradings of a couple of other bands by Headquarters. Well done, everyone!
15-April-2012: And now we've lost Roy Sutton...
As if losing Bob Morris was not bad enough we have now learned of the passing of Roy Sutton. A tenor drummer with Beeston for over 30 years he had recently been playing with Leicestershire & Rutland County, Royal British Legion Pipe Band (LRCPB) to whom we are grateful for keeping us informed. Apparently Roy passed away in his sleep, at the end of his battle with cancer.
We understand it was his wish that band members from the LRCPB would be present at his funeral to play for him and this they did, doing him proud. Many friends from other bands attended the service; indeed there were almost as many kilts in evidence in Roy's honour as trousers. The funeral was held at Bramcote Crematorium (Main Chapel) on Friday, 13th April. At the committal his tenor sticks were in place on the coffin.
01-April-2012: R.I.P. Band ex-President Bob Morris...
Yet another great loss to the band's supporting membership. We have just been informed by Vice President Forbes Hodge of the sudden passing of Bob Morris. Bob was an unstinting supporter of the BDPBS right from the early days right up to the present. Indeed he was President of the Society for about 13 years. The following is taken from the local Nottingham Post:
"MORRIS Bob: Passed away suddenly on 20th March 2012 aged 80 years. Beloved husband of Ann, a much loved dad to Ian and grandpa to Katie and Nicola. Bob will be greatly missed by all his family and many friends. The funeral service and cremation will take place at Bramcote Crematorium (Main Chapel) on Tuesday 3rd April at 1.15pm. By request family flowers only please but donations in lieu for The British Heart Foundation or Cancer Research may be sent care of Julie Wesson Independent Funeral Directors, The Forge, 22 Wollaton Road, Beeston, Nottingham."
On behalf of the band we extend our sincerest sympathies to Ann and the rest of the family and hope that as many band members as possible, past and present, may be able to attend to say goodbye on Tuesday.
Update, 3rd April: The service was well-attended, with easily 150 people present. The band was represented by past and present members John and Gillian Wright, Forbes Hodge, Pat Larkin, Brian Mellors and David and Lynn MacLean. Duty piper was Brian Huskinson, accompanied by his wife Margaret. Bob's links to the band (including a common bond in the Boys' Brigade) were mentioned. Donations may still be made in Bob's memory as stated above.
21-January-2012: and now a new band...
We have been informed there will be a new band on the circuit for 2012 - Manchester Phoenix. Not really a completely new band as it is the successor to the old Greater Manchester band, known to many. In these days when so many bands are stagnating or folding completely it is most welcome to hear such a bit of positive news bucking that trend. Our best wishes to them all - may they succeed "in the circle" and, more importantly, have fun together for years to come.
14-January-2012: New year, new life...
Sorry for the silence over the last few weeks but this is a fairly quiet time and, as usual, little new info has come my way to report.
The only thing of significance is the great and happy news of the successful birth of Syd and Fi's little boy, Sydney ( Sydney 3G? Sydney III? Grandfather and father are both Sydney as well!), during December. Judging by the photos on Facebook mother and son look lovely and happy. Many congratulations to them all, from all of us who know them. Of course this "mixed marriage" (father piper, mother drummer) will no doubt be receiving advice from both sides of the divide as to which discipline to teach the poor tyke. I, personally, shall not be risking any money on that one!
17-Dec-2011: R.I.P. P/M Iain MacLeod...
It is with great regret we must end 2011 on yet another sad note. We have just been informed by Vice President Forbes Hodge of the passing of P/M Iain MacLeod after a long illness. Iain was P/M of this band for many years, contributing hugely to the development of the Society and leading it during the ascent to its heyday in Grade 2 in the Eighties. Indeed I believe he was instrumental (pardon the pun, Iain) in taking the band from Grade 4 to Grade 2 in only a couple of years.
06-Dec-2011: New P/M, RAF Waddington 3B...
We are pleased to announce that Syd Charles jnr has returned from his sojourn with the Grade 1 Cullybackey pipe band in N.I. and plans to take over the reins of the RAF Waddington 3B band for the 2012 season. He is already considering the tunes for the season with L/D David Wright and so far things are progressing well. We wish the band well as the joint venture with the Beeston personnel in the mix continues for another year.
22-May-2011: The new county flag for Nottinghamshire...
From this weekend the county of Nottinghamshire proudly sports a new, official flag. The result of a campaign started by BBC Radio Nottingham and voted for by the people of the Nottingham area, the flag incorporates the St. George's cross on a green background, and a shield with the Robin Hood emblem in its centre. Beeston & District Pipe Band Society is proud to display the flag on our website and to represent and support the county wherever we go. For more details of the flag and its development please click here
20-May-2011: The new season...
While the season may have already begun with a few minor contests North of the border this weekend sees what is the normal first contest of the year for most English bands - the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton. In at the deep end again, eh?
While Beeston as a unit are not out again this year (still down in numbers but not yet out, by a long way) there will be a lot of our faces out there "blowing and banging" in front of the judges. The largest group by far (including the entire drum corps in fact) have officially transferred into the tartan and under the auspices of RAF Waddington's new Grade 3B band under P/M Finlay MacGhee. This collaboration hopes to benefit both organisations, allowing the RAF members a chance at a more "interesting" grade and allowing the Beeston people to stay together. Hopefully the start of a long and fruitful collaboration. Good luck to them and everyone else who has slaved long and hard through the Winter and early Spring to get ready to strut their stuff tomorrow. The weather doesn't look too promising, though - DON'T FORGET YOUR CAPES!
30-Dec-2010: Ashbourne news...
In addition to this news we must also report that the ADPB is having another one of those wee crises which seem to beset our Association these days - loss of members. The three stalwart young lads who have been filling the back rank for the last couple of years have all reached a crossroads together and have reluctantly decided they must focus their energies elsewhere. Two are buckling down to A-levels with a view to University and the third has designs on the police force as a career. We wish them all well in their plans and hope that it won't be too long before their talents can be recaptured somewhere in the RSPBA. In the meantime Ashbourne has the immediate problem of needing to replace them - please CLICK HERE to view a poster they have produced to advertise their needs. If anyone can help please get in touch with them. (For the record the side drummers have all agreed to appear at the Fling for their swan song.)
07-Dec-2010: New Scots Guards Association band?...
News has come to us of some moves afoot to try to raise another pipe band under the banner of the Scots Guards Association, this time for the Durham and Yorkshire branch. If anyone wishes more details just and we'll pass on your contact details to the lucky(?) chap trying to get the whole thing organised.
05-Oct-2010: Another wee, personal note on the MacLean front...
While things are a bit quiet at this time of year I thought it might be nice to mention another piece of good news to anyone who knows us - Lynn and I today celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary. The drum corps actually formed a Guard of Honour for us on the special day itself, adding an extra touch that many people would be very envious of! We have already had good wishes from several of our friends in the many other bands we have had dealings with over the years and would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you all for your kind words. Here's to the next 25!
David ("Grumpy Old Drummer") & Lynn ("Wee Cuddly Bundle") MacLean.
10-July-2010: Phew, What a Scorcher (or two)!...
What a day. Not one but two engagements on the same day. Our first was for the Newton Carnival. The parade was a two mile trek from Blackwell to Hilcote and took us a wee bit longer than expected in the heat. The moment we finished the parade we had to dash back to collect the cars to whizz back down the M1 home to Beeston to do our local home carnival parade. We must send a special "thank you" to the lovely local WPC who helped us find the quickest way back to collect the cars and then the quickest way back to the M1 - without her help we would have been undoubtedly late for the second job. As it was we all just managed to pile out of the cars back in Beeston, pick up our instruments, walk round to the front of the Town Hall and start the parade! Thanks must also go to Pat & Lynda Lally for arranging a slightly late start to the Beeston parade to help us out. We hope that didn't inconvenience anyone but it was the only way we could manage to do both jobs and we felt it very important not to let the home side down.
Given the heat everyone managed very well under the circumstances though I confess to a wee blister on the third finger of my left hand now. Just shows I haven't been practising enough but I am open to receiving as much sympathy and understanding as any industrial injury like this deserves. :-)
The band also welcomes new piper Andrew Keith to the fold - his first outing with us today was a bit of a baptism of fire (well, it certainly felt hot enough!)
10-Mar-2010: It's Official...
At the recent AGM it was unanimously conceded that Beeston & District will be unable to compete at any contests during the 2010 season. This is purely and simply due to lack of pipers. The few remaining bods willing to remain loyal to Beeston subsequently requested leave to join other bands temporarily in order to maintain their "match fitness" until such time as the Beeston roster can be restored to a critical mass capable of fielding a competition band; the Committee appreciated their position and reluctantly agreed to their requests. We have been in a similar position before and come back strong - we shall do so again. These members have been granted leave to retain their uniform, chanters, etc. on the proviso that they will return when called, if possible, to represent Beeston on engagements (already enacted - see below).
Band practices continue every Wednesday at NTU. If any new piper wishes to come along it would, sensibly, be in everyone's interest that they get in touch before coming so we can then ensure we recall one of "The Few" in on that night to meet and greet you. Dave Wright and his drum corps continue to attend regularly. We must refute a rumour published in a certain digital piping magazine that the drum corps has also departed the fold. This rumour, and, to be fair the author does call it a rumour (so why publish it without checking?) is not true. Fiona Hedley has been successful in auditioning to play snare in Grade 1 with Cullybackey for the coming season. However she continues to attend Beeston practices regularly and remains closely active with us as Band Chairman. She joins her husband, Syd Charles, who has also transferred officially to Cullybackey's pipe corps under similar conditions. A couple of our younger drummers have also requested to join other bands for a while to maintain their interest. The rest of the drum corps remains in place and would be happy to snare (get it? "snare"?) any pipers of suitable standard to adopt for our front ranks. (Sorry about the Tenor of that last pun - it was a bit Bass of me... a bit of a Major faux pas, really...)
So, as stated elsewhere on this site, the Band remains active, willing, interested and happy to receive applications from far and wide to start building up the next revision of the Band. If you have wanted to take a step up or get back into harness after a few years out this would be an excellent opportunity to get in on the ground floor and take a bit of extra time to prepare for a contest season. Don't put it off - the sooner you make that decision the sooner we'll prove you did the right thing and we can all enjoy a pint together (one pint, eight straws, right? But no umbrellas).
On a more positive note the Band performed at the Rushcliffe 10k Run on Sunday, 7th March, with 5 pipers, bass, tenor and 3 snares all present and vigorously hand-rubbing. It was a very chilly but beautiful early morning start and we all enjoyed the early season outing. The cold meant Syd chose not to risk making an "audible slurry" of the medley, etc. but the crowd were appreciative of the simpler tunes played on the day. Whether the runners started off so quickly just to get away from the 'pipes remains a matter for conjecture...
03-Dec-2009: New Salute under construction
There was a great deal of brainstorming and hilarity around the table last night at practice as the decision was finally made (after many, many years of just thinking about it) to push ahead and develop a new Drum Salute for the 21st Century. Beeston's current Salute has been a mainstay of the band's repertoire for a long time, indeed from the days of L/D John Wright, with only a few sections being tweaked in all that time. Now we have stepped back, taken an overview of what the modern (global) PB drum corps can achieve and are full of ideas. With a major input from our resident professional drum tutor in the corps, Chris Livingstone, bringing latin rhythms and a bit of orchestration to the more traditional sections of a new salute we hope to have a lot of fun over the next few months and bring out something in 2010 for everyone!
28-Nov-2009: Update on search for a new P/M
The hunt for a new P/M is by no means over. We have had one candidate but unfortunately, for various reasons, that has now fallen through; the search continues. If not P/M what about P/Sgt? Piper? Learner? Drummers' Labourer?
The band is also currently recruiting specifically to increase the size of our pool of pipers. If you are interested in either of these aspects please to request more details. We have had a few nibbles in the last month or so but we need more. It would be better all round, for you and for us, if you would at least contact us as soon as possible (i.e. before Christmas) to express your initial interest. We would then be able to plan more properly for next season - there is a lot of work to be done and "time waits for no band" (or something like that). If you are thinking about it please take the initial step - the waiting is killing us!
31-Oct-2009: VACANCY FOR PIPE MAJOR...
It is with another one of those perennial mixtures of gladness and sadness that we must report another major change
in the lineup here at Beeston - this time the departure of our current P/M, Syd Charles, from the Beeston fold. We are glad to
report his successful induction into the Grade 1 Cullybackey band from Northern Ireland but sad because it means we lose his
services here in the Midlands. It has been a difficult few years for the band but Syd has been there for us through the thick and
thin times always at or near the helm. We wish him every success in his stint in the top flight of the pipe band world and hope he
will come back regularly to bring back to us the benefit of his new experience (and his renowned generosity at the bar!).
Of course this leaves Beeston with a problem. A biggie. The prize-winning drum corps (3B Champion of Champions in 2006, 3A CoC in 2007 and disappointingly 2nd in 3A CoC 2008) remains solidly in place. Unfortunately no-one in the remaining pipe corps feels confident or experienced enough to take on the demanding role of a P/M at the present time. So -
we hereby give notice that the band is willing and open to considering applications from far and wide for a new Pipe Major for Beeston & District.
The applicants must, of course, be of a certain minimum standard as a piper themselves and be willing to commit to the continuing desire of the rest of the band to maintain its high competition standards. This band has a reputation hard-won over many years both in England and in Scotland and we refuse to just let the good name fade away.
Here is a summary of the band's achievements at "The Majors" over the last few years:
Band Drums CoC Tables ====== ======= ========== 2008 (3A): Scottish: 1st 2nd British: 2nd 1st Band: 3rd European: 10th 3rd Drums: 2nd Worlds: 13th 3rd Cowal: 9th 5th 2007 (3A): Scottish: 7th 4th British: 9th 6th Band: 11th European: 5th 1st Drums: 1st Worlds: 7th ** 2nd (** we won our qualifying Cowal: 6th 3rd heat outright) 2006 (3B): Scottish: 6th 6th British: 1st 1st Band: 1st European: 8th 3rd Drums: 1st Worlds: 3rd 3rd Cowal: 2nd 1st
This could be the best opportunity in years to get into one of the best bands in England and continue along with us in our quest for
Grade 2 status. we believe we have the quality and ability within the band currently to achieve this but right now our biggest
obstacle is lack of numbers.
The band is, of course, more than happy to accept any experienced pipers who wish simply to be a part of a corps with a competitive edge. We believe that competition is the driver for improvement and as such do put more effort than some into this side of the art.
Fancy a challenge? Do come on down - you'll be more than welcome! All the remaining pipe corps have pledged their support to any newcomers - if you've got the ability and willingness to learn then we've got the kilt for you.
Please give our appeal some strong consideration. If you are unhappy or just bored with your current situation then why not take a chance to strengthen the mix which makes this happy band (there is no piper vs. drummer schism here) and take us back from good to great again? Right now. This minute.
Just click the link to get in touch: . It could be the best thing you've ever done, for both yourself and for us!
28-Oct-2009: National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland Concert...
We have been asked to help to publicise a concert that NYPBoS are performing at Usher Hall in Edinburgh on 28 November. Further information is available at the National Piping Centre or directly from The Usher Hall
Click Here for the promotional poster for the event.
We are, of course, always generally happy to promote the youth element of the art but especially so in this case as two of the participants belong to another of our local Midlands bands - Lewis Soult and James Gray. These two lads (and poor old taxi driver dad, Tom Gray) expend a lot of time and energy over and above their own band work with Ashbourne to take part in the many events wth the NYPBoS in Scotland. Their enthusiasm and commitment puts a lot of us oldies to shame.
05-Oct-2009: Major Dates for 2010...
The RSPBA have confirmed the dates and venues for the 2010 Major Championships. Get your diaries ready, folks - here they come...
22nd May - Scottish, Dumbarton
26th June - British, Annan
31st July - European, Belfast
14th August - Worlds, Glasgow Green
28th August - Cowal, Dunoon
17-Sep-2009: Back to work...
Just for anyone who hasn't got the message yet - we have started back regular Wednesday practices at Nottingham Trent Uni once more. Work on the new 2010 medley is already under way and the mood around the table(s) was upbeat with the usual round of jokes in poor taste getting aired! I would just like to say that is was great to see three new faces round the table in the pipers' room - I hope you enjoyed your first trip to Nottingham and the threat of the small mountain of music to learn hasn't put you off. Welcome, and -
roll on 2010!
15-Aug-2009: English drummers take the day at The Worlds...
In a slightly bittersweet fashion we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our main rivals in England at the moment - the Greater Manchester County Fire & Rescue Service Pipe Band on their incredible achievement in winning the Grade 3A drumming prize at the 2009 World Championships just held in Glasgow. They have bested us on a couple of occasions previously this year and it is nice to know that we were beaten by prospective world champions! (Of course, if Beeston had been competing.... :-). Congratulations to Scott and the corps (including one Beeston drummer "on loan" for a couple of seasons while at Uni in Manchester). While having many major successes over the last few seasons "The Worlds" is the prize which has always just managed to elude us. Rest assured that the GMCFRS win will result in a winter's hard practice down Beeston way to keep the Worlds trophy South of the border next year (just a little further South than at present!!!). Well done!
05-Aug-2009: Wedding Bells down Beeston way...
After all the slings and arrows thrown at the band over recent months we would like to report some good news for a change.
This coming Saturday, 8th August, sees the wedding of two of the band's top people. Rather than continue to drive the band forward from two perspectives the band's Pipe Major, Syd Charles, and the band's Chair(man/woman/person), Fiona Hedley, have decided to make the supreme sacrifice and relinquish the freedom of singledom to serve the band more efficiently as a couple. Their dedication to the band knows no bounds! There is a slight rumour floating about concerning them having some wee personal, emotional attachment to each other but this reporter feels sure the welfare of band is the only thing on their minds this weekend. I mean - a piper... and a drummer... getting along? Surely not.
Seriously, though - everyone at the band wishes them every happiness and a long and happy life together. They are heading off North of the border for the ceremony and the several members who are heading up to the World Championships at Glasgow Green the following weekend hope to meet up with them to pass on our congratulations in person. Watch this space for photos!
20-July-2009: Feedback from Jacksdale job...
The band was pleased to receive a wee thank-you from some satisfied customers from the recent job we performed at Jacksdale for the dedication of their replacemement war memorial:
Dear Webmaster Would you please ensure that you pass our thanks on to the Beeston Band for their superb performance at the recent Jacksdale, Notts - 'Soldier Day' on 14th June 2009. Their presence was very much appreciated by all who attended. I have one or two photos of the band on the day and wondered if you might like me to email copies over to you for your website. Likewise - if any of your band members or supporters took any photos we would be very pleased to share them with you for our village community website at http://www.jacksdale.org.uk best wishes C. T-C. Secretary & Webmaster BADJER
Click on any image for a larger view...
The band had an enjoyable (if warm!) day at Jacksdale and were very pleased to help.
P.S. Happy 40th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing to everyone, everywhere!
Click here to see a video of the band's Grade 3 performance at the recent Branch Contest held in Centenary Square, Birmingham. (We played better in Grade 2, honest!!!)
25-June-2009: Another change of Secretary...
It is with regret that Fiona Boyd has had to relinquish her caretaker role as Secretary due to pressure of work. The committee have already thanked her personally for her work over the last several months but wish to take this opportunity to do so again publicly here. Fiona will maintain links with the band in the important role as a liaison with NTU (Nottingham Trent University) as she is a lecturer there. Indeed it was in this role that Fiona managed to secure the excellent practice facilities we curently enjoy courtesy of the University. Our thanks go to her for all her hard work and sound advice.
Jumping into the breach to take over the Secretary's role will be Lynn MacLean, one of our tenor drummers and a current committee member. Lynn already has some experience in the role, having performed it once before when with the Ashbourne band. We wish her well in the role also! If anyone needs to contact the secretary be advised the band has already been updated to point to the new incumbent.
17-June-2009: The funeral...
Just a quick report on a sad day. John Brown, founder member and one-time band secretary, was sent on his way to the great Massed Band in the Sky today. Unfortunately there was no family left to mourn his passing but a fair turnout of friends from many, many years (not to mention several generations) came to say their last farewells. Several others were known to have wished to attend but obligations (e.g. work, or sheer distance) prevented an even larger attendance. The cortege was led up to the chapel by a solo piper playing beautifully and evocatively and the coffin was carried in by 6 members and ex-members of the band. A lovely service was followed by a wake at a local hostelry just down the road (John would have definitely approved of that last bit!).
08-June-2009: Some pics of John's past with the band.
Click on any image for a larger view...
and, finally, the way we'd like to remember him...
In the meantime the course of the band must continue and on a more positive note the band would just like to say "See you all at Birmingham..."
Also you can click here to see a small YouTube video from the recent Scottish Championships at Dumbarton - for some strange reason the editor picked us to open his article! Thanks go to James Gray at Ashbourne for spotting this one for us. We did not perform as well as in previous years, unfortunately. The more astute amongst you may have noticed the loss of a few well-kent faces from our pipe corps this season and the coincidental meteoric rise to success at The Scottish of one of our rivals - the University of Bedfordshire Pipe Band. One band's loss... Ah, well. Congratulations to the Bedfordshire players on their success.
John Brown, R.I.P.
It is with the deepest regret and sadness that we must report the passing of one of the longest-standing members of the band. John Brown was a member of the band in its earliest incarnation with the 17th Nottingham Boys' Brigade and, afer a spell living in America (and being drafted to Vietnam!) returned to the band in adult life. He was known to many learner pipers as our main tutor for many years and, towards the end of his time with the band was the official Band Secretary for a considerable time. Few details of his passing are known at present but we believe he died at home. We shall post anything we hear on this page for the benefit of the many people who knew him through the years. This has placed a shadow over the band's plans of looking forward to competing at the Scottish Championships in Dumbarton this weekend; hopefully he will be looking down on us and lending his support.
St. Patrick's Day 2009
The band (or part of, 12 to be precise) are playing in Fanore, County Clare at the parade there on Sunday. The logistics involve flying out Saturday morning and being entertained by the locals on the Saturday, flying back on Sunday evening – so we’ll all be kna-----, um I mean very, very tired come Monday morning! Big thanks to RAF Waddington pipe band who have lent us their “hardcases” for the drums and to the organiser Anne Pilkington and her committee for getting us there.
The weekend went very well - you can see some photos of the crew enjoying themselves now on the Photos Page.
"Cheese on toast, anyone?"
(Click the thumbnails to enlarge)
Here at Beeston we like to think of ourselves as a versatile band that is capable of playing at a wide range of events. It is not unusual for most of our pipe corps to be out playing for Burns night at the end of January and the band is playing in Ireland for St Patrick’s Day, but St David’s Day? Not really your standard pipe band stuff. However after P/M Syd Charles, Piper Dave Glover and Drummer Fiona Hedley played (again) at the Dog and Gun in Earl Shilton for this year's Burns Night celebrations the landlady and her husband decreed that the pipes should come back…for St David’s day!! So Syd and Fiona found themselves on Saturday night “Piping in the Welsh Rarebit” (or cheese on toast if you’re not familiar with the delicacy). The rarebit was carried on high around the pub by Ted the local Welshman and then promptly eaten by Oz the local Irn-Bru-loving Scotsman. As usual in “The Dog” a good time was had by all and much beer flowed and there are plans afoot to get a larger contingent into the pub for a bit of a preseason social.
7th December 2008: tenordrumming.com finally goes live...
We received news a few months ago regarding the launch of an exciting new website for Pipe Band Tenor Drummers. The website was originally meant to be launched on the week of World Pipe Band Championships and has finally managed to go active this last week. We were asked to help to publicise the launch of the website a little. Happy to help...
Sorry about the wait, everyone, but the photos from Ty Fry 2008 are now available on the Photos Page!
2008 End-of-Term Report
First of all an apology to all our readers - I know there have been a lot of rumours flying about concerning the band which needed scotching and I have been a bit remiss in applying the band's official response here. My only excuse is that I have just had a wonderful holiday up North in Wester Ross and, other than working out some drum beatings for some Grade 4 friends, I have been enjoying a welcome break from all things PB!
In fact the band as a whole has been taking some time to chill out a little longer than usual at the end of the competition year. This season has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride and we all felt the need to take a break and regain our composure after the highest highs and lowest lows of 2008. I apologise if the following report is a bit long but there has been a lot happening and there are a lot of friends out there who want to know the story...
One rumour in particular should be addressed immediately. We can confirm officially for everyone that our Pipe Major for the 2008 season, Guy Rylatt, has indeed now left the band. We can report that the parting was amicable and was purely Guy's own decision. He was NOT sacked by the band or asked to tender his resignation under any circumstances; any rumours stating otherwise have absolutely no basis in fact. Guy has expressed his own best wishes for the band's future and hopes Beeston will continue to prosper though, unfortunately, now along a separate path.
With hindsight (wonderful, wonderful hindsight!) it is now generally agreed that perhaps we were not quite fully ready to adopt the tactics deemed necessary to move the band towards the higher grades with quite such a step change in our commitment.
The band has now made the decision to return to a steadier future course upwards, but rest assured upwards is still the target direction. Guy was an inspiration and brought many, many improvements throughout the whole band. He even got the drum corps bulling their brogues and competing to see whose shone the most! His (positive) legacy will last a long time and is being used as the benchmark for several aspects of our future plans. We take this opportunity to thank Guy publicly for all his hard work over the last season and hope he will continue to keep up some links with Beeston (and certainly join us in the beer tent!).
Secondly we must report the loss of our Pipe Sgt, Pete Tait, to Grade 1 band, Ballycoan. Once again we can confirm there is no bad feeling concerning this loss, only disappointment. We were fortunate enough at Cowal that Pete was able (though perhaps not actually happy!) to step into Guy's shoes and lead the band while Guy was unwell (fortunately fully recovered now, we hope). In the last few years Pete's ever-reliable presence, humour, support and knowledge have proved invaluable to us all here at Beeston.
So in the interim former P/M Syd Charles has been persuaded to retake the helm for now although he has made it clear that should a more experienced candidate become available he will gladly step down.
It is common for bands to undergo some general changes in personnel at this time of year and the full results of all this coming and going have not become fully clear yet. Keep an eye on the Members Page to see how things are going for us. In contrast to the pipe corps the drum corps remains as solid as ever with no-one currently planning time out or moves during 2009. Indeed there is the distinct possibility of two more learner drummers joining in the next few weeks. Rest assured Beeston will be competing next season though perhaps we may have to limit the size of the drum corps to balance the pipers more effectively. This will only lead to even greater work within the drum corps as all the drummers compete for the fewer places in the "back line". We shall concentrate on the smaller, more local contests to "keep our hand in" until we build up the momentum once more to challenge the Champion of Champions tables. The band has proved consistently over the last three years that we have it within us to compete successfully against the strongest bands in our grade; that experience remains within the core of the band and will provide a strong foundation as we build again. The rest will do us good and will give several other bands in 3A a chance to win the prizes we would have undoubtedly have picked up had we attended. (Told you we were being positive!!).
To this end we are placing some extra effort this year into attracting new talent into the band. While experienced players are always welcome we must also place a higher priority once more into training and producing our own learners and beginners. If you are reading this and fall into either category we would be pleased to hear from you and promise you a warm welcome and a host of talented individuals who are willing to show you what it takes to master your chosen instrument (the 'pipes or snare/bass/tenor drum) and demonstrate the close team spirit which naturally comes from competing within group activities such as ours. Some people have an impression that Beeston members can be a bit aloof. Wrong. Its just that we are so tight a team together having so much fun within the band!
Perhaps you are a student at NTU, looking for something equally challenging to balance all that hard work? One of our own members is currently doing just that - studying at University in Manchester and practising and competing with the Manchester Fire & Rescue pipe band - the perfect antidote to all that exam stress. (Proof - he passed all his first year exams with no trouble at all and is happily now in second year!). There are further details about where to find us on the Practices Page and you can contact us by email from the Contacts Page. Go on, take a chance.
In addition to changes in the playing membership we can also report an important change elsewhere in the band committee. After several years in the role Syd Charles Senior (P/M Syd Charles's Dad) has stepped down from the position of Band Secretary and his place has been taken by Fiona Boyd. You can read Fi's band biography on the Members' Page. So it is hail to Fiona and farewell to Syd in that order - Good Luck to Fiona and Thanks to Syd. If anyone wishes to contact Fiona the email forwarding has been updated and an email to will go directly to her.
Phew! I think that about does it, don't you? I need a cuppa...
Ty Fry 2008
The day came and, unfortunately, has now gone. Beeston and District Pipe Band Society in association with the RSPBA Midlands Branch held a Tyler Fry tenor drumming seminar on Saturday, 18th October 2008 at Beeston Rylands Junior School, Trent Road, Beeston.
With almost 30 attendees from all over England (and even one from Scotland who was on holiday in the area!) Tyler had his work cut out to cram as much information into many, many heads in only one day. The event was tailored to the requests of the students in order to allow as many people to get as much as possible out of the day and, we believe, that was achieved. Everyone left at the end of the day with a smile on their face, having got something out of the event. Beeston Pipe Band would like to say thank you to all the attendees on the day for their participation, new friendships formed and their general willingness to muck in and make the day the success it was. We set the thing up (with generous support from the coffers of the Midlands Branch) but it was the students whose hard work (brain-straining at times - ask Tyler about "Flourishing Independence"!) and interaction that ultimately made the day.
There will be some photos of the event here shortly.
We would like to say a special thank you to the school caretaker, Steve Buckingham, for his work in setting up and tidying up at the end of the day. Steve also exercised a lot of patience while we tried to drag the youngsters from Ashbourne away from continuing to pump Tyler with question after question at the end of the day - their enthusiasm testament to the success of these seminars.
Finally, of course, the biggest thank you goes to Tyler himself for his time, seemingly boundless energy, encyclopaedic knowledge of his art and the ability to pass it on to all-comers. A few of us were lucky enough to help entertain Tyler throughout the evening later and it is safe to say his energy levels continued well into the wee small hours!
Contest Summary for 2008:
|24th May 2008||Scottish
|28th June 2008||British
|6th July 2008||Birmingham||1st||1st||1st||1st, plus
|13th July 2008||Corby||1st||2nd||1st, plus
|20th July 2008||English
|26th July 2008||European
|16th August 2008||World
|30th August 2008||Cowal
The 2008 contest season has ended...
Well, the 2008 season is over. We won't say "finally" as it all seems to have come and gone in a flash this year. We started with the highest of hopes and ended with great disappointment. From the peak of winning 1st and 2nd at the beginning of the season at Dumbarton and Birmingham things went a bit pear-shaped for us.
But first Cowal. ..
The last contest of the season. We were 3rd in the band Champion of Champions table and unlikely to change that, no matter how well the band played - even winning full 6 points for first place would not have been enough to close the gap; the Lisburn and Worlds results had seen to that. There remained the strong chance of topping the drumming table with a 1st, 2nd or even 3rd place, however. How did it go? Don't ask! Oh, if you insist -
There were a few nerves evident in the back line on the Final Tuning but L/D Dave Wright kept faith and went on with the full corps. The opening rolls were the sweetest, cleanest, most smack-on rolls the band (ANY band, I'll wager) played on the day. And it stayed that way for the whole performance. Despite the unfortunate loss of our P/M on the day due to illness the entire band gelled under P/Sgt Pete Tait and played out of our collective skins. We came off the field to the cheers of the crowd and with smiles on our faces the width of the Cowal Peninsula. Everyone agreed we just couldn't have played any better. And how did we fare? 9th as a band and only 5th in drumming. Clydebank managed to take 2nd place in drumming and in one fell swoop leapfrogged us into top spot on the CoC Table at the final fence. It just goes to prove you can never predict things in the arts. To say Clydebank were happy and we had gritted teeth would be an understatement on both accounts! Our congratulations go to them for eventually winning what had been a hard fight all through the season.
The drum corps must admit to a wee embarrassment on the field as the results were announced. There we were, in the usual supportive huddle/scrum waiting, hoping, waiting and hoping to hear the (distorting) tannoy announce "Beeston!" and out came "Dees...!". The instant the first syllable came out half of the drum corps were already in flight, only to come crashing down to the surprise that Deeside caledonia had bucked their trend at the Majors this year to come crashing though from nowhere to win at Cowal. Our only excuse was that the odds had been more in our favour than theirs - our apologies to Deeside for apparently attempting to steal their thunder!
On the march down the road the entire band pulled out all the stops and had a ball playing our contest marches and reels to great applause from the crowd. At one point the pipers insisted the drum corps take the lead (this is starting to be a wee tradition with Beeston) and a great party time was had by all. The whole team on the day clapped each other on the back, said the ancient, traditional end-of-season Gaelic phrase "weewuzzroabed!" and proceeded back to Ronnie's for hot pies, homemade soup and a can or two of refreshing ale. Many thanks to Ronnie and his entire family for their fabulous end-of-term hospitality once again.
When all is said and done and the details of the day are forgotten in the mists of time the records will still show that the season ended:
2008 Champion of Champions Table, Grade 3A:
Beeston & District Pipe Band Society: Band: 3rd, Drums: 2nd.
Not too bad really, eh? Maybe next year...
26th July 2008: Lisburn, a contest too far?
Oh dear. Lisburn proved a wee upset. The less said about it the better. Nobody is quite sure exactly what happened but the published summaries show that one judge put the piping in 10th place while the other placed us at 19th - in last place. As one might expect there was a lot of discussion in the hotel bar that evening but in the end it was agreed that, whatever the cause, it would not be allowed to happen again and the entire band would prove their true mettle once more at the Worlds in a few weeks. The entire band now plans to get back on track as soon as possible. On a positive note the drum corps managed to convince their judge that they were worthy of a high placing - third in fact - with which they were quite pleased. Taking on Irish bands on their home ground is always difficult and 3rd was a realistic target to aim for on the day. Despite this element of success for the day the entire drum corps were as unhappy as everyone else with the overall result. A united band with the bit between their teeth will arrive at Glasgow Green, have no fear. The travelling was quite hard on all, whether they travelled by the coach or air. The coach left the University at 5.30am on Friday and returned at 10pm on Sunday; a significant expense in money, time and patience for all concerned. Well endured, everyone! Bring on the next one…
20th July 2008: ADD ENGLISH CHAMPIONS TO THE LIST...
The time had come once more for the biggest and best contest in England - the Ashbourne Highland Gathering, this year again doubling up as the All-England Championships. The weather was not ideal, indeed occasionally cold in the wind when the Sun disappeared, but there was no repeat of last year's muddy mayhem and once or twice it even pretended to be a lovely summer's day.
The two halves of the band focussed on their respective specialities right up to the last minute before competing in Grade 3; we squeezed in a couple of runs through together to sync the two halves and it proved successful yet again - we gained top spot in Grade 3 for band, drumcorps and the midsection as well. Another championship scalp to add to the collection.
We had high hopes of taking the Grade 2 crown as well after an excellent performance of the MSR set (perhaps the best performance so far this year) but it was not to be. The University of Bedfordshire - the only official Grade 2 band present - took the honours there, knocking Beeston back into second place. Bedford Uni also managed to win the Grade 1 contest, not difficult as they were the only band qualified to enter! Scottish/Irish Grade 2 bands take note - if you fancy a chance at going down in the record books as English Grade 1 champions come on back down to Ashbourne next year and give them a run for their money. You know where Ashbourne is - you all came down a few years ago and had a great time.
It wasn't all easy money for the lads and lasses from Luton - immediately after competing in Grade 1 they were invited to play for the special annual drum majors' challenge where the D/Ms march past the band one at a time and attempt to throw their maces over a high target banner before catching it and continuing, all without a faltering step. Many brave attempts were made and there were even a few successes - it all went down very well with the large crowd and all the competitors are to be commended for having a go.
The day ended with the traditional parade of all the bands down the street (a la Cowal) with Beeston eschewing (big word for Sunday) the normal street marches and instead playing our big march from the MSR (Hugh Kennedy) and the reels from the end of the medley (Kelsey's Wee Reel and Dancing Feet); we had even more fun than the crowd!
Next on the calendar is the European Championships in Lisburn. The hardy members are getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a bus at 5.30am on Friday while the softer souls have elected to fly out later in the afternoon. At this point we must make a huge, great official thank you to Majella O'Neill for her kind and exceeedingly generous donation to the band towards the trip. Majella’s support is very much appreciated and has made a VERY significant dent in the band's expenses for accommodation and travel to Northern Ireland. We hope we can put on a good show next weekend and pay her back in the best possible way with another winning performance. As has been mentioned elsewhere on this site the band has no official sponsorship and is always most grateful for financial support from any direction, either by regular or one-off donation. So, once again, thank you Majella - every single member of the band is indebted to you.
28th June 2008: MORE SUCCESS, THIS TIME AT BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS!
The improvement in the band's abilities continued today with another successful outing at a Major championship. Despite having been drawn second on in the programme (only marginally worse than the dreaded first-on position) Beeston & District took second place overall on the day and the drum corps came first in their section. We think this seems only fair as last time, at the Scottish Championships (see below), the band took overall first and the drummers came 2nd. The band knows we can play even better still and continue to pressure ourselves towards that elusive perfect performance; we might never reach it but we can all but try, eh?
The championships were held down in England once more at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham; this was considered a plus for us as most of the band only had less than an hour's travelling to do whereas the "foreign" (!) bands from Scotland, Ireland, etc. had the long haul to endure this time. Despite the early draw it transpired that Beeston were in the outright winning position right until the very last band in the contest, MacKenzie Caledonian, came along to snatch victory right from under our chanters; the difference was marginal in that we tied on points but MacKenzie edged us out on the Ensemble Preference rule. Our congratulations go to them. We would also thank the lads from the Clydebank drum corps who popped over to pass on their congratulations to our drummers, we appreciated the gesture.
You can see the entire results table on the RSPBA website by clicking here.
By our reckonng (the official table has not been posted at the time of this writing) Beeston are now on 11 points out of a possible 12 in both the Band and the Drumming Champion of Champions Tables and are therefore currently in the lead in both. A lot of hard work will still be required to maintain this but the band is certainly up for it and are looking forward to the European, Worlds and Cowal Championships on the horizon.
24th May 2008: BEESTON WIN SCOTTISH CHAMPIONSHIPS!
Two wonderful occasions today - 1) The weather was fine in Dumbarton - yes, it really was sunny and had a distinct lack of wind and downpour - and 2) Beeston & District Pipe Band Society took the top spot in their grade at the 100 Pipers Scottish Pipe Band Championships! We are now officially 3A Scottish Champions 2008. Have I mentioned yet that we won the Scottish Championships this year? Apologies, but we are just a wee bit full of ourselves at present. All the hard work of the past few months has proved fruitful and congratulations must go especially to P/M Guy Rylattt and L/D David Wright for working so well together and pulling the band up to a level even higher than last year.
We made our way up on Friday and most of the band were able to stay together in the same hotel in Milton once more. It should also be noted that all the travelling and accommodation expenses were met fully from the members' own pockets again - a point not lost on the grateful committee. Following Guy's new methods we practised separately at first and then just concentrated on snippets together most of the time throughout the two hours running up to competing. We had even practised our drill and deportment in order to better look the part as well as sound it. The performance wasn't perfect - it never is - but everyone's nerves held and we came off fairly happy. There was a tinge of disappointment in not winning the drumming (we came 2nd so can't really complain) but there was an eruption when our name came out first in the band prizes!
The party in Milton that night went on into the wee small hours for most (and into the next morning for one or two!) and the cup was hugged and posed with many times. It was worth it.
The Majors for the rest of the season mostly require us to play our other contest set - the March, Strathspey and Reel (MSR) - and we feel that is the stronger of our two sets so the prognosis for the rest of 2008 is currently rosy down Beeston way. The British Championships are due to be held in Birmingham as well so we will have "home advantage" helping us there as well. It is not just the weather looking bright - keep your fingers crossed for us...
19th May 2008: Tony Lee's funeral
Over 150 people attended Tony Lee's funeral today. The hour-long service was up-beat and had members of his family paying heartfelt tribute. Amongst the mourners were several pipers and drummers who had had dealings with Tony "on active service", including members of the Beeston band, past and present. After the service a few of us retired to the Harrington Arms and toasted his memory in the traditional fashion to complete the send-off. It was obvious from the periods of thoughtful silence that everyone was well aware Tony had moved on far too soon for anyone's liking.
11th May 2008: Stotfold
The band competed at the Jimmy McGinn Memorial contest in Stotfold today in Grade 3 and Grade 2, our first competing opportunity of 2008. A day of mixed results unfortunately - Beeston swept the board in Grade 3 by winning both band and drumming prizes but failed to make inroads once again against our traditional rivals from Luton the Grade 2 University of Bedfordshire band. We had all felt positive both going in and coming out of competing all three times (both bands played a medley and then an MSR in the Gd 2 contest) and everyone agreed we had improved markedly on our performances of 2007 but the judges managed to find enough each time to edge us out of the top spot. Ah well - we'll just set our collective jaw, evaluate their criticisms and make sure any particular weaknesses are addressed by Dumbarton. (Bands are only allowed to compete within their own grade at "The Majors" so we are adding a dash of determination on top of our current confidence for the Scottish Championships). As Monty Python says "Always look on the bright side..."
Speaking of bright points - our recent signing, Daniel Belfield, was triumphant in both the 15-18 Age Range March and the Open MSR solo drumming competitions. Excellent work Daniel! We feel sure he will make his mark on the solo scene for many years to come. Thanks must also go to former P/M Syd Charles for both practising with and then playing for Daniel in his successful endeavours.
8th May 2008: Comings & Goings (well, just Goings, really)...
As stated on the homepage we have learned of the sudden passing of Tony Lee. Tony was a member of the Beeston band from its very early days as part of the 17th Nottingham Boys' Brigade company into its heyday as a separate, competing band. A "well kent" and active figure round the English pipe band scene for many, many years he had successful spells as Pipe Major of Mickleover RBL and of Borough of Charnwood. The funeral is due to take place on Monday, May 19th at the Oasis Christian Centre on Derby Road, Long Eaton, service commencing at 2pm. We feel sure many old friends might wish to join us in saying goodbye to an old friend on the day.
Not quite so absolute but we should record that Cailean MacLean has taken the hard decision to leave Beeston to join his new friends at the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue band. Cal has been studying at Manchester Metropolitan University and while away from home has kept up his drumming through the close season by making new friends with the Manchester guys and gals who have all made him very welcome. The only downside is that now he will be competing directly in 3A against his Mum & Dad who remain with Beeston; I can confirm that no quarter will be sought or given on either side in this matter!
Cal's younger brother, Connor, will be seen this season playing for Ashbourne and District in 4B. While officially still remaining a "Beeston Boy" Connor has registered to compete with Ashbourne in order to gain contest experience. There is a long history of such mutual help between Beeston and Ashbourne over the years - long may it continue to the benefit of both bands.
25th March 2008: Help the band funds for free while surfing the Net
The band is now registered with easyfundraising.org.uk as a means of providing a small but steady income flow from members, friends and supporters. They provide a FREE service where you can shop with your favourite online stores and at no extra cost raise funds for any charity, good cause or group you choose to support. Beeston & District Pipe Band IS officially a registered charity. You still shop directly with each retailer as you would normally, but simply by using the links from the easyfundraising site first, each purchase you make will generate a cashback donation to the cause you wish to support. For example, spend £25 with WH Smith and 3.5% will be donated. You will have raised £0.88, at no extra cost to your purchase. Make any purchase from Amazon and 2.5% will be donated. Insure your car with Direct Line and raise £30.00, or purchase a mobile phone from O2 and earn £17.50, and so on. You can shop with 500+ Brand Name retailers and to raise funds you just use the links from their site first - it's that simple!
If you ALREADY shop online, why not help the band at no extra cost from purchases you would make anyway? Please consider the option.
If the concept appeals but you do not relish the idea of committing to another internet account (the account registration and usage is easy and completely free) there is another way to help, also from easyfundraising...
Do you search the internet? Of course you do! What search engine do you use - Google? Yahoo? Why not try bdpb.easysearch.org.uk? Simply by using this free, band-dedicated page to start your internet searches may raise even more pennies for the band. And every penny counts... Please remember that the band receives NO regular direct financial support from any source other than by our own efforts at paid engagements and from prize money, neither of which can ever be taken for granted.
Thanks go to Diane at Wolverhampton Pipe Band for informing us of this exciting and simple option.
Beeston and pleased and excited to announce that the 2008 season will see a new man at the helm.
Guy Rylatt has been invited to become Pipe Major and, at a well-attended band meeting, was accepted by all present. Guy has an impressive pedigree, having played in recent years with no less than Clan Sutherland, the RUC and Field Marshall Montgomery pipe bands. Outgoing P/M Syd Charles was personally responsible for inviting Guy to take over the reins and remains with the band to support the new regime. Pete Tait remains P/Sgt. All three pipers look forward to working closely together and with L/D David Wright to take the entire band to greater heights over the next few years.
2nd December 2007: The AGM went smoothly
In all bands we all know how tedious these things are but, in order to maintain at least a semblance of formal existence as an organised group, we must all get together annually to reaffirm our aims, pat ourselves on the back for the year's successes, get any gripes off our chest and make plans for the coming year. The band held its AGM on Sunday, 2nd December at the Victory Club in Beeston to achieve all these aims. I am happy to report that there were no dramas; in fact Chairman Fiona Hedley remarked that it was probably the smoothest and quickest AGM in the band's history! (AGM number 42 for anyone counting).
Syd Charles formally stood down as P/M in favour of his selected replacement, Guy Rylatt, and Guy was officially elected as of the date of the meeting. Thanks were expressed all round to Syd for the last few years of excellent results under his hard work and there was hope for even better things in future under Guy, Syd and Pete's continued efforts.
One special entry on the agenda was the surprise and very welcome repeat of last year's presentation of a set of individual medals to each of the Champion of Champions winning Drum Corps. President Vic Humphries made the presentations on behalf of the Leading Drummer Dave Wright and the band to those drum corps members present.
In the photo (L>R) are Rob Batty, L/D Dave Wright, Fiona Hedley, Ronnie Campbell, Lynn MacLean, Wayne Thorpe, Iain Neely, David MacLean, Richard Mellors and President Vic Humphries.
Absent from the photo: Alison Blair, Allan Campbell, Alister Fraser and Cailean MacLean.
Just click on the thumbnail for a better view of all the ugly mugs!
New Pipe Major
As stated on the home page the band will have a new Pipe Major - Guy Rylatt - in charge for the 2008 season and beyond. There will be more details soon when Guy, outgoing P/M Syd Charles, P/Sgt Pete Tait and L/D Dave Wright can all be interrupted from their excitement at working out all the improvements they want to make for 2008. Amongst other bands Guy has played for Field Marshall Montgomery and the RUC and hopes to be able to instil the winning ways of those top bands into the entire band at Beeston.
21st October 2007: Tyler Fry Seminar
A second chance for us all to attend one of Tyler's famous seminars for bass and tenor exponents. Our midsection benefitted tremendously from last year's event and we easily managed to get the entire section to attend this year, most of them for both days. The first day was mainly for beginners and those wanting to refresh their basics (never a bad thing) and the second day took things to a slightly higher level for the more experienced. Apart from ourselves there were representatives from Notts Police, Ashbourne, West Mids Police, Grampian Corby and Wolverhampton as well as a few others. Everyone learned a lot once more from the current king of tenor drummers, not only musically but his knowledge of the history of the pipe band and drumming genres was equally extensive. We should also like to extend a special thank-you to the Midlands Branch (especially the Anderson clan) and West Mids Fire Service for the facilities and all the arrangements. Should the event be approved again for next year we would strongly urge you to send as many of your midesection players (and snare drummers and even interested pipers!) as possible - it can only help to raise the profile of the English bands on the contest circuit. Keep an eye on possible events on the RSPBA Midlands Branch website.
Tyler can be contacted through his website: www.TyFry.com.
Contest Summary for 2007:
|19th May 2007||Scottish
|23rd June 2007||British
|1st July 2007||Birmingham||1st||2nd||1st||2nd, plus
|8th July 2007||Corby||1st||1st||1st, plus
|15th July 2007||English
|28th July 2007||European
|11th August 2007||World
|25th August 2007||Cowal
Best Bass =
|2nd September 2007||Chatsworth||1st||1st||1st||1st|
Chatsworth Country Fair contest - the end of the season for us here in the Midlands. A fair turnout of bands and drum majors to make the day a big finish to the year. The weather was miserable again but the band came away happy despite the rain (well, we've all had plenty of practice getting wet this year) with a win in both the Grade 3 and Grade 2 competitions. Farewell 2007 and here's to the (hopefully drier) 2008. Preliminary plans for the Winter and next year are already in place but, for the immediate next few weeks, a well-deserved rest is now in order. Thanks to all the band members for their effort and sacrifices over the year, to the friends and family who have supported us throughout our travels and to the many friends and competitors in all the other bands with whom we have shared 2007. See you all next year!
25-August-2007: Cowal Championships, Dunoon
Beeston win 6th place at Cowal and a 3rd place in the drumming secured enough points on the Champions of Champions (CoC) Table to be crowned Champion of Champions Drum Corps in 3A for 2007. The Bass Section took the Best Bass prize on the day - especially meaningful for bass drummer Ronnie Campbell on his home turf of Dunoon itself. The band as a whole has managed to make an impression in the 3A grade all year and can hold their head high after a successful season. The Majors are now finished and only the Chatsworth Country Fair contest remains to finish off the year with a flourish.
It is highly unusual for any band or drum corps to win the CoC title in one year, be upgraded to the next level and then repeat the feat in their new grade but the boys and girls of Beeston have managed it! It has been a season of heavy sacrifices and a lot of travelling - it was touch and go at one point whether we could field the required numbers to make the minimum headcount for Cowal but the pipers came through for the drummers yet again and allowed them their chance at The Crown. Photos will be appearing soon once everyone is home safe, unpacked and recovered from all this travelling around the country.
Once again we must thank the University of Strathclyde who immediately came over to pass on their congratulations - they gave us a good run throughout the year; we hope to be as magnanimous should the roles ever be reversed (but we'll do our best to make sure the need never arises, of course! :-) )
Oh - and Cailean survived the transition from youth to adult as his 18th birthday happily coincided with the CoC celebrations that evening. It was quite a party - someone even managed to arrange a spectacular fireworks display for him. (Well, we THINK it was for him...)
So, congratulations go to Ronnie (bass), the tenor corps - Alison, Iain, Lynn and Richard and the snare line - Alister, Allan, Cailean, David, Fiona, Rob and Wayne. Connor also deserves an Honourable Mention in Despatches for his sterling work in guarding the capes and cowboy hats - an unsung but essential operation and one all the apprentices must go through.
Final and special congratulations, of course, are due to Leading Drummer Dave Wright who has led the corps for many years now having succeeded his father, John. Rumour has it father and son were a little emotional after the results were announced - they had every right to be! Well done, everyone!
One last point - during the hugs, etc. after the CoC announcement Cailean's glengarry was knocked off - if anyone found a Beeston glengarry on the field (we did search at the time) or knows where it is he really does need it back. No names, no pack drill...
Update - Cal's glengarry has been returned! Many thanks go to the kind person who sent it back to Dave Wright.
11-August-2007: World Championships, Glasgow
There we went again - yet another trip over the border. This time to Glasgow Green and the World Championships. A day of mixed fortunes. Due to the extra large entry of 34 bands in our grade there were two qualifying heats put in place. The standard result is to take the top six from the two heats to form a final of 12. Guess what - we won our heat! This put us on a high and focussed everyone's attention on the final which was due to begin just over 30 minutes from discovering the heat result, not long to prepare. We played again and came off feeling quite happy with the performance (believing we had played far better than during the morning. Alas it was not to be. The final results proved the cruellest of placings - towards the 6 band prizes we came 7th and Annsborough pipped us to the single drumming prize (we came 2nd). Aargh!
There now remains only one Major of 2007 to finally define our standing in our first year back in 3A - the Cowal Championships. The band is already practising hard on the MSR (March, Strathspey & Reel) set required for that day.
Once again a wee thank you is due to some of our friends - the Pride of Murray band were kind enough to help transport some of Beeston in the morning from their "pits" at the University of Strathclyde Halls of Residence and to allow us to use their coach as a base for meeting and storing our equipment during the day; many thanks, PoM!
On a final note congratulations must also go to Greater Manchester County Fire Service, to RAF Halton Pipes & Drums and to the University of Bedfordshire's Grade 4 band - more English bands making a name for themselves in Scotland in 2007.
Oh, and a final, final note for those of you hanging on avidly for the weather report we have a surprise - it was soaking wet. Really, really wet. Well maybe not too much of a surprise, eh? Our resident South African member, Reg, remains distinctly unimpressed by the Celtic weather. It is amazing how much Anglo-Saxon someone from the Southern Hemisphere can pick up in a few short years.
28-July-2007: European Championships, Inverness
Another very long trip and a major commitment in personal time and money for all the competing band but ultimately worth it - we managed to secure 5th place as a band and took the drumming crown on the day as well. Some members of the Strathclyde Uni band popped over to pass on their congratulations - thank you, guys - and even Tyler Fry gave our b/t corps a "well done" (well he did train them last year). The weather continues to prove foul this season. How any Pipe Major manages to keep one set of bagpipes in tune in such dreadful conditions let alone an entire pipe corps is beyond me (a mere drummer, obviously). The mud was worse than Ashbourne but mercifully on the level this time.
On a personal note we were visited on the day by Lorne Brown (with Kilsyth Thistle this year), father of Allan and grandfather to Jen who have both played with Beeston this year - we hope you recover from your "wee operation" and are fully fit soon, Lorne.
A selection of photos from Inverness showing the band sporting a lot of smiles (and even more mobile phones) will appear on the Photo Page as soon as we return from the World Championships.
On an important, final note to the Band - you can all stop searching now - the P/M has managed to find his ghillie brogues, "misplaced" since Inverness. :-)
15-July-2007: Ashbourne Highland Gathering/English Championships
Rain again! Actually this was very unusual for Ashbourne - famed for its glorious weather every year since its inception. But, boy, did it make up for it this year. They even had to stop cars coming onto the competitors' car park for fear of not being able to get them off again. Still, we were lucky and the rain abated just before we competed, both times. Our haul on the day included:
Best Dressed Band on Parade (more by accident than design it must be admitted),
1st Band in Grade 3 (hence ALL-ENGLAND CHAMPIONS, GRADE 3),
1st in Drumming, Grade 3 (again ALL-ENGLAND CHAMPIONS, GRADE 3),
3rd place in Grade 2 (let's not be greedy),
1st in Drumming in Grade 2 (at last!) and
Best Bass in Grade 2 (the Bass and Tenor Team come up trumps again).
08-July-2007: Corby Highland Gathering
All change and at last back on a full winning streak. The weather turned out fine (too hot at times - some people are never happy!) and Beeston swept the day by winning band and drumming in both Grade 3 and Grade 2 contests. Admittedly our main opposition planned for the day - in the form of the Grade 2 University of Bedfordshire - failed to appear but the records will show our name in first place, nevertheless. We were doing well for association with world-class sportsmen for the second day in a row as the Chieftain for the day turned out to be none other than Colin Jackson CBE! I am convinced it was his smile and friendly nature which kept the rains at bay until the journey home. Many ladies on the day were obviously impressed by his wearing of the kilt, too.
There are a few more photos on the main Photo Page of the site.
The other main topic of the day was that the contest coincided with the birthday of our P/M, Syd Charles. He supplied a "bit of bubbly" for the band early in the day (well before competing!) and had "Happy Birthday" sprung on him during Massed Bands just to drive the point home. Winning on the day was perhaps a suitable present from the band - Happy Birthday, Syd!
07-July-2007: Nottinghamshire Youth Games
An engagement which came through at short notice but almost on our doorstep - a request to play for the competitors at the Nottinghamshire Youth Games in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. The Games were held today over several venues. The only drawback was the early start - there by 8.15am to meet the buses. The weather was kind and the job itself was not too taxing, just playing a few street marches and being forced to observe a lot of happy kids and some cheerleaders going through their paces - it is a hard life at times! A highlight of the day was the chance to meet and be photographed with Chris Hoy MBE PhD, the Olympic cycling Gold Medalist. We hope to have one of those photos here, soon.
Brand new venue and an obvious resurgence in support from the City towards the event. Using Centenary Square, smack in the heart of the city, seemed to get the "thumbs up" from everyone we spoke to. Tuning up in a multi-storey car park is never ideal but it is better than outside in a downpour! Fortunately the rains were few and far between and the sun came out later to dry everyone off. Playing on concrete led to slightly different sound but had the advantage that shoes were not covered in mud by the end of the day!
Contest results were both good and bad - 1st in band and drumming in Grade 3 but only 2nd in both categories playing up in Grade 2; congratulations go to Greater Manchester County Fire Service on the day in that respect. Ronnie and the tenor corps managed to pick up Best Bass in Grade 2 also - well done to them.
The end of the day was incorporated into the end of the national Veterans Week with a short parade back down into the square at the end of the day, leading around 500 veterans in a march-past in front of the Lord Mayor. There were a few wee doubts and indecisions about who was giving the commands at the end but otherwise the event went off to everyone's general satisfaction.
One final note of significance - today was a special day for the MacLeans in the band - Mum, Dad and their two sons Cailean and Connor played together for the first time ever in public during the Veterans Parade; Mum Lynn plays tenor and the "three boys" all play snare drum. Cailean's girlfriend, Ploi, took this photo to mark the occasion...
25-June-2007: Disappointment at Ballymena.
We dropped the ball a bit at the British Championships in Ballymena, I'm afraid. Still managed to come 9th as a band and 6th in drumming but the contest performance was a poor one compared to how we had been sounding in the tuning park. No, really. Honestly. I mean it!
It was a looonnnng weekend. The bus was loaded up and left Grantham at 6.30am on Friday and picked up most of the rest of us in Beeston around 7.15am. Over to Holyhead and the ferry to Dublin, the rush hour traffic and one of the most torrential downpours most of us had ever seen. Eventually rolled into the B&B in Ballymena around 9.30pm, 15 hours after setting out. A quick decant into the rooms, a reshuffle of room assignments and then out into the streets looking for FOOD! A short trip the next morning down to the stadium and down to business. Of course the rain started just at the time we got the instruments out to tune up. We joined the queues of bands sheltering in "the cow sheds" and all tried to out-do each other in volume just to hear ourselves over the din. The rain let up just minutes before we were due on and we escaped into the open air and could suddenly hear ourselves clearly again. Sounded good. A quick group hug and pep talk from the P/M and we were on!
Oh, dear. For whatever reason it just didn't click. Tiredness? Nerves? Who knows? Problems in both pipe and drum corps early on in the performance spelled doom for our high hopes of only a minute earlier. The second half of the medley got back on track and up to par but by then it was too late. The bass and tenor corps were the only ones to receive nothing but credit in the write-ups.
The March Past & Prizegiving were treated to a surprise visit from the Rev Dr Paisley (with the obligatory rousing speech!) but there weren't too many happy faces round the Beeston area on the park. (I am, of course ignoring the cheers, whoops and hollers from Annsborough and the University of Strathclyde lot on either side of us - congrats to them). Back to the hotel, and then it was out on the town to drown the sorrows with brave faces and apparently not a care in the world. The very bravest turned in around 4am just in nice time to get ready to catch the bus at 6am for the ferry. The constitution of these people is astounding. How they suffer for our art. One member was so proud of the band he decided to remain in uniform all the way home as well! The Beeston contingent were dropped off around 6pm (12 hours travelling) and waved goodbye to the remainder heading back to Grantham and a quick bus unload. Like I said - a looooonng weekend. Still, all bright and breezy back at work on Monday morning, I'm sure. And to prepare for practice on Wednesday to prevent any repeat of the Ballymena slips happening again.
Footnote: 6th place for the drummers gets their second set of points on the CoC tables - currently in fourth place, so all is not lost.
20-May-2007: Beeston just pipped for a prize at Dumbarton.
The band competed in its new grade (3A) for the first time since being upgraded at the end of season 2006. It was too much to expect a major upset (did you get the pun I slipped in there?), especially with our first test being at the Scottish Championships at Dumbarton. However the band came SO close to picking up a prize it was almost painful. We came 6th equal in points with the University of Strathclyde but they were awarded the 6th and final prize of the day by virtue of a better Ensemble placing. Beeston were thus relegated to 7th - still very respectable on our first outing since promotion. The drum corps managed an excellent 4th place and hence chalked up the band's first points on the 2007 Champion of Champions tables.
The good news is that we all know we can learn from the couple of problems encountered on the day and we know for sure that we can improve next time. Now that the initial start-of-season nerves have been overcome we can all settle down and push harder, together..
By the way the atrocious on-off-on-off rain and wind were a nightmare for every band on the day. The lucky ones got a breeze with their drizzle, the unlucky ones (some poor souls in shirt-sleeve order!) got drenched in the wind. Talk about the Luck of the Draw. The band's gazebo (dead posh, us) only had to be restrained and tied back down three times so I guess it wasn't THAT bad... Of course Mother Nature kept one of the worst short, sharp and heaviest downpours for the March Past and Prizegiving; isn't tradition wonderful?
28th August 2006: Beeston are declared 3B Champion of Champions!
|30th April 2006||Stotfold||1st||2nd||1st||2nd||N/A|
|20th May 2006||Dumbarton||6th||N/A||6th||N/A||8th|
|4th June 2006||Colchester||2nd||3rd||1st||2nd||N/A|
|24th June 2006||Pitlochry||1st||N/A||1st||N/A||1st|
|9th July 2006||Corby||1st||2nd||1st, plus
|16th July 2006||Ashbourne||2nd||3rd||2nd||3rd||N/A|
|29th July 2006||Greenock||8th||N/A||3rd||N/A||10th|
|12th August 2006||Glasgow||3rd||N/A||3rd||N/A||6th|
|26th August 2006||Cowal||2nd||N/A||1st||N/A||2nd|
|3rd September 2006||Chatsworth||1st||3rd||1st||3rd||N/A|
|22nd April 2005||Scottish||4th
|25th June 2005||European
|3rd July 2005||Birmingham||1st||1st||1st, plus
|10th July 2005||Corby||3rd||2nd||1st, plus
|21st July 2005||Ashbourne||3rd||2nd||1st||2nd|
|17th August 2005||Worlds||12th||N/A||4th||N/A||N/A|
|4th September 2005||Chatsworth||1st|
|18th September 2005||Shifnal||1st||2nd||1st||2nd|
2005 AGM Presentation to founder member John Wright
During the 2005 Annual General Meeting a brief presentation was made to John Wright, one of the original founder members of the band in 1965, and still playing today. A small speech of thanks was given to John by Vic Humphries, the Band President, and John was presented with a Sgian Dubh engraved with his name and the name of the Band...
40th Anniversary Celebrations
On Thursday, 3rd November 2005 the Band played for the Mayor of Broxtowe Borough Council at her offices in Foster Avenue, Beeston. A miniband played into the Council Chambers to be met by the Mayor and many friends of the Band. The Mayor made a small speech which highlighted the various events which had taken place that year in celebration of the Band's 40th Anniversary.
Forbes Hodge received an engraved Quaich on behalf of the band which has been put in the band's trophy cabinet as a permanent reminder of the occasion.
Thanks were also expressed to some founder members of the band present on the evening, with special mention of Brian and Margaret Huskinson, specifically for Brian's playing at many various council events on behalf of the Band and for Margaret's sterling support of her husband and the Band throughout far more years than either would care to dwell upon! A clock was presented to Brian and Margaret received flowers.
To finish off the formal part of the evening Pipe Major Syd Charles played the 40th Anniversary tune which won a competition run earlier in the year, composed by Billy James, a piper from within the Band itself.
The Piping Spectacular 24th September 2005
Click the title above for all the results and several photos from this enjoyable day.
3-Mar-2005 Pat Lee stepped down as Acting Pipe Major. Over the last 14 months Pat made an outstanding
contribution to rebuilding the pipe corps. There is no doubt that last season’s success in English contests was largely down to Pat’s input. Pipe Sergeant Syd Charles was been appointed Pipe Major, having worked closely with Pat over the last 14 months. Plans were laid for a full contest season in England and for competing in several of the Championships.
Paul Searson was appointed Secretary in succession to John Brown, who retired in December after 18 years. Alison Blair replaced Paul as Quartermaster.
30-Nov-2004 At the band’s Annual General Meeting, on 28 November, PM Pat Lee emphasised that experienced players would be welcomed as plans are put in place for the 2005 season. Both Pat and Leading Drummer David Wright expressed their enthusiasm for competing in the major championships, as well as the English contests in 2005, after a successful season in England in 2004. Secretary John Brown stepped down at the meeting after nearly 20 years in the post.
30-Mar-2004 During the winter visitors to the band’s website (www.pipeband.org.uk) might have been forgiven for thinking that nothing much was happening at Beeston, after a disappointing season in 2003. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Since October the band has been working very hard under the direction of Acting PM Pat Lee and Leading Drummer Dave Wright. The response from pipers and drummers alike was extremely positive. The pipe corps was strengthened and new music material was introduced. Consequently, the whole team looked forward to the new season with great enthusiasm.
At the band’s AGM in December Band President Vic Humphries was presented with the President’s Chain of Office by founder-member Bob Goodwin.
08-May-2003 The Band attended two dates at the Leicestershire County Show.
21-Mar-2003 Vic Humphries accepted an invitation to become President of the Society. A former playing member of the band, Vic has lots of experience of working with bands in Northern Ireland and in England. During the previous 12 months Vic played a part in bringing the band together under Pipe Major Fred Cronshaw and Leading Drummer David Wright, including the role of "drone czar"! Vic's assistance was appreciated as the band prepared for a busy season of contests and engagements. The band appeared at the Leicestershire and the Newark & Notts Shows in early May before taking part in the season's contests in England, starting in June.
17-Feb-2003 The band performed at the Leicester Showground on the 4th/5th of May. The band also performed the following weekend (10th/11th May) at the Newark & Notts Agricultural Society's County Show which was held at the Newark Showground.