• 1st Claygate Scout & Guide Band

1st Claygate Scout & Guide Band : 1989 - 2014

The 1st Claygate Scout & Guide Band began in the autumn of 1989 under the leadership of Ann Etheridge as bandmaster and was formed from members of both the scouting & guiding movements in Claygate. Even though most of the band had not played an instrument before in 1991, just 18 months after its formation, it achieved its first major achievement winning the Novice class at the Kingston Youth Band Contest in Tolworth with an average age of just 11 years. The band continued to build on this success and attended many group and district events as well as taking part in national competitions.

These included:

  • St Georges Day Parades

  • Claygate Flower Shows

  • Claygate Scout Summer Fairs

  • Remembrance Parades

  • 1991 - Kingston Youth Band Contest - winning the Novice Class title along with various sections.

  • 1992 - Kingston Youth Band Contest

  • 1992 - Marching from Horse Guards parade via the Mall to Buckingham Palace as part of a massed band to help celebrate the Queen's 40th Anniversary of being on the throne.

  • 1992 - Youth Band Championships - Royal Albert Hall

  • 1992 - Marching Band Contest - Aldershot

  • 1993 - Kingston Youth Band Contest

  • 1993 - Took part in a Band Spectacular at Tolworth recreation centre

  • 1994 - Kingston Youth Band Contest - finished 2nd in the Contest class.

  • 1995 - Kingston Youth Band Contest - Winning the Contest class.

  • 1995 - Marching Band Contest - Aldershot

  • 1996 - Kingston Youth Band Contest

In 1992 the band was joined by 2 Australian scouts who were visting the UK for a year.

In 1995 Ann Etheridge left as Bandmaster and was replaced by Ian White and later in 1997 by Daraius Master. Towards the end of the 1990's band numbers declined and finally in 2000 it was decided to close the band for the time being.

Closure was short and in March 2001 under the leadership of Robin Wilkinson, as bandmaster, the band was reformed with just 10 members. Membership was again open to members of the scout and guide movements in Claygate and since then the band has grown steadily and now numbers over 50. As numbers increased and the level of musical ability widended it was decided in 2007 to split the band into two. A Junior band for those who had only just started to play an instrument or had only been playing for a short time and a Senior band for more experienced members. In recent years the band has improved to the point where the Junior band are now playing pieces the Senior band were playing only a few years ago. This has made it difficult for new members joining the Junior band so in 2013 a new Training band was formed for members who have just started to play an instrument.

Since reforming the band has regularly performed at village events, including Remembrance parades, the Claygate Flower Show and the many Christmas festivities in Claygate. The band holds its annual concert each spring and in 2008, 2010, 2012 & 2014 it has formed part of the Claygate Musical Festival.

At the end of the summer term the band holds its annual awards evening - a chance for band members & parents to look back at the year just gone.

Further afield the band leads one of the annual St George's day parades held in Esher scout district, was invited in 2013, to lead the Dorking district St George's day parade and in 2014 the bands Drummers were asked to take part in the National St George's day parade of Queen Scouts at Windsor Castle in front of HRH The Duke of Kent (President of the Scout Association) along with Bear Grylls (Chief Scout) and Wayne Bulpitt (UK Chief Commissioner).

In 2010 the band took part in the first Kingston Borough Bands Tattoo featuring 8 local bands and took part again in 2014 with a 20 minute display to a packed audience.

In 2011 the band celebrated its 10th Anniversary, since reforming, and to celebrate 80 band members, leaders and parents boarded 2 coaches for a 4 day trip to Paris the highlight of which was leading the musical parade at Disneyland Paris in front of a large cheering crowd.

Each year the band has to undergo an inspection by the County Band Advisor who assesses the bands whole performance - how we play, how we look and how we march. All scout bands have to undertake this inspection and are graded from Grade 'F' (being the lowest) to Grade 'A' (being the highest). In 2008 the band was graded 'C', in 2009 it improved to Grade 'B' and in 2012 the band was awarded a Grade 'A' for the first time and has maintained this level in both 2013 & 2014.

Grade 'A' bands don’t just happen - through the commitment and hard work of the band members themselves, the dedication of the band leaders and adult instructors and the support of many adult helpers over the last 25 years the band continues to go from strength to strength.

To be continued…….