By Simon Parker of the Western Morning News, Tuesday 20th May 2008
BAND HOPES CONCERT WILL GO ON AND ON AND ON...
If you like listening to brass band music - and particularly if you like to hear a lot of it - then the centre of Bude is the place to be on Monday, May 26. Starting at just after 10am, members of Bude Town Band will be attempting to play for as long as they have enough puff.The "sponsored play" is part of a project to raise the £150,000 needed to build new headquarters to house the musicians and their instruments.
Until a few days ago, such a target looked extremely daunting. But then, out of the blue, the Blanchminster Trust announced it had decided to pledge £80,000.
A little-known Bude charity begun in the 1400s, the Blanchminster Trust's stated aim is to "promote education and to relieve need, hardship or distress".
The band, which has been an integral part of life in the North Cornwall town since 1895, has a packed engagements diary, playing for carnivals, fetes and concerts.
Over the years they have met in a variety of venues, including the Villa Hall, Old Picture House and Violet Tea Rooms. Since the early-1970s, the ensemble has gathered at what was once an egg packing station in Lynstone Road, but due to the deterioration of the building and the end of a 25-year lease they have been forced to look for alternative premises.
North Cornwall District Council has provided a site and contributed £75,000 towards the building work, and a further £15,000 has been raised by the members themselves through a number of fundraising efforts.
"However, with the abolition of Cornwall's district councils from next April, there are no guarantees that existing pledges of money will be honoured by the incoming unitary authority," said Mrs Inch. "Therefore the band is anxious to raise all the money needed and for building work to get under way before that date."
As part of the fundraising efforts towards the new hall, the band are holding a sponsored play on bank holiday Monday in the Triangle at Bude. The outdoor concert will involve the band aiming to play for as long as possible without stopping.
Mrs Inch, whose entire family is involved in banding, added: "We hope as many people as possible will stop by to listen and contribute to the cause. Basically we need to raise the rest of the money to keep the band in existence."
Bude Town Band became a independent brass band in 1895, previously being Bude Volunteer Band, a detachment of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, which included woodwind instruments. Today's band has a healthy - though ageing - membership and is keen to recruit more young people. Membership is free and includes access to instruments, music, uniforms and teaching.
Bude has a year round calendar of events to which the town band has become an important contributor. Among these are Bude Carnival, Gurney Day and Remembrance Day. It is also a keen contributor to local fundraising events in support of Children's Hospice South West and Cornwall Air Ambulance.
"We have good links with local schools and add value to their statutory obligations by providing musical education," said Mrs Inch. "We are pro-active in our mission to take music into the community and we regularly hold taster sessions at schools to encourage membership."
Bude Town Band is in need of financial help.
Band members re
Bude Town Band is in need of financial help.
Band members recently staged a sponsored performance as part of their bid to raise £180,000 towards a new headquarters for the group.The band needs new premises urgently as the land upon which the band hall sits in Higher Wharf is in the process of being reclaimed by North Cornwall District Council.
Band chairman Bridget Inch said NCDC was providing another site in the town.
The band has already raised £15,000 towards the new hall project; a further £75,000 has been secured from NCDC, and the Blanchminster Trust, a Bude charity whose aim is to promote education and relieve need, hardship and distress, has pledged £80,000.
The band claims that unless money from North Cornwall District Council is used before April 1, 2009 - when the new unitary authority takes over - there is no guarantee it would endorse or continue with uncompleted non-contractual commitments.
The band chairman explained: "Although the band has been at the current site for more than 20 years, the current building does have some limitations and is in need of updating.
"We are looking at the move as an opportunity to look to the future by improving our current facilities and developing a new headquarters that will properly serve the band for many years to come.
"We are now working hard to raise the additional £12,000 funding required for a new band hall and will be holding various events in order to achieve our target."
The recent sponsored performance, where musicians played for as long as they had enough puff, resulted in musical director Myra Inch playing continually for six hours.
Guest players at the event included James Montague from Wales on percussion, Adrian Jasper from Delabole on horn and Joy Richards and her family from Crediton.
If anyone would like to support the band's fund-raising, or would like to join the band, they can contact the chairman on 01288 331404, secretary Malcolm Inch on 01237 441071 or visit the band's website, which is www.freewebs.com/budetownband