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Welbeck Estates Brass Band
The Band came into being following a chance conversation which took place when Mr. Neil Elliott gave a lift in his car to the late Mr. Bill Hawkins. Bill had been a keen bandsman elsewhere for many years and he became secretary of the Welbeck Band.
Initial funding of £5000.00 came from the Harley Foundation and funded the purchase of second hand instruments. The band received several more donations from The Harley Foundation in its early years to cover the cost of new uniforms and instruments. The band is now self financing.
The inaugural meeting took place on Tuesday 1st May 1980.
Most of the early players lived on the estate and were beginners. However, they were soon 'knocked into shape' by the then conductor, Mr. Herbert Dunwell. Together with the more experienced bandspersons, under the conductorship of Mr. John Catlin, they had their first fund-raising concert on March 1981. This led to many busy summer seasons. The next conductor of the band was Mr John Brailsford.
In January 1981 the band became a member of the North East Midlands Band Association, making them eligible to take part on contests. Bill Hawkins had always said that 'the band was not a band until it had played in its first contest'. The first contest was in April 1985 at Kirkby in Ashfield. This gave the players a taste of competition - although on that occasion they didn't win a prize.
In August 1985 they were invited to play at Whippingham on the Isle of Wight. They spent August Bank Holiday as guests of the local people and raised money for the new Community Centre which it was hoped to build at Whippingham. The concerts went so well that the band was invited back the following August to play at various other locations on the island.
One of the venues was the Royal Marines Bandstand at Cowes. Because it was festival week all the streets were decked with bunting. The police had closed the main road to the sea front so the coach carrying the band members had to make a detour around the narrow streets.. Unfortunately the driver had not considered the height of the aerial on the coach - and so it became entangled with the bunting! This resulted in the driver and two band members climbing on top of the coach to release it. In so doing, the entire section of bunting was pulled down and, rather than leave the bunting in the road, they picked it up and put it into the coach boot.
The following morning as the coach made its way back to the ferry it was announced on the radio that the police were looking for the vandals who had ripped down all the street bunting! Thankfully no-one realised that the band was the 'vandal' concerned. (The bunting is to this day in the band room at Holbeck!)
Over the years the band has won a few prizes, the highlight being in March 1995 when they were playing in the Area Competition and gained promotion to the 3rd Section.