End of an era as Southwold and Reydon marching band closes after 36 years
PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 November 2017
A popular marching band has been forced to close after ongoing problems with enlisting new members.
The Southwold and Reydon Corps of Drums was founded in 1981 and has been playing at events across Suffolk, Norfolk and beyond ever since.
The corps was initially the brainchild of former Southwold town crier John Barber, who called together three friends in the knowledge that they possessed both military and musical experience.
Having enlisted numerous members and received financial support, the group started getting involved in events throughout the region such as festivals, concerts and remembrance ceremonies.
Thirty-six years of performances have followed, but the band has found it increasingly difficult to recruit new members and the decision has now been taken to cease activity.
Graham Hillier, who joined the band back in 2012, conveyed sadness at the band’s closure but emphasised that it is the sensible decision.
“We’ve been saying the same thing for the last four years and we’ve just had no success in getting people on board,” said Mr Hillier.
“As has previously been highlighted, we couldn’t continue unless we got new members because we weren’t able to cover costs.
“Ideally a band needs ten people and, when the situation gets to the stage where a member can’t take a day off, it gets a bit silly.”
At its peak in the late 1980s, the group had more than 50 members and local children were enthusiastic about performing in the band.
But participation has been on the wane over the last decade especially and Mr Hillier explained that interest in other hobbies and activities has increased at the band’s expense.
Mr Hillier said: “Children these days have found other things to do that they consider more trendy and their time is often occupied by sport.
“Playing in the band used to give children a real sense of development and those who participate always really enjoy it.
“Starting the band up again would be very difficult, but in my heart I’d like to think that the people of Southwold and Reydon will wake up realise that something is missing and do something to get the band going again.”
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