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Whit Friary!


Only a few weeks after the trip to Blackpool, Friary headed north up the M6 again to take part in a banding tradition: the Whit Friday Marches. Dating back to the 1880s, the event comprises nine separate contests within the Tameside area, and eleven in Saddleworth. Bands have to play a march whilst on foot approaching the venue, and another at the venue itself – such as a village green, pub car park, cricket or football club. The adjudicator at each venue is closeted in a nearby caravan, clubhouse or maybe the back room at the pub with the window open!


Bands travel to each venue by coach. With narrow, winding lanes, congestion is frequent,and careful manoeuvring essential! A runner to register the band on arrival is also all part of the fun, as is a local resident with a placard announcing each band and their music. The events start in the late afternoon and run on until well after dark. It’s quite a spectacle for the audiences, with over 30 bands of all standards competing at most venues.

“This was a marvellous experience for the Band – and also Chris King’s final event conducting Friary. Whit Friday is a unique event in banding circles and we were so pleased to be part of it.”

Friary opted for the Tameside contests, managing an impressive full house of all nine contests. The Band took one third place, six top ten places and an award for best deportment. And at Stalybridge, the placard bearer was none other than MP for nearby Ashton-under-Lyne, Angela Rayner! Fodens and Rothwell Temperance were the leading competitors. Band Chairman David Wicks commented: “This was a marvellous experience for the Band – and also Chris King’s final event conducting Friary. Whit Friday is a unique event in banding circles and we were so pleased to be part of it.” “We are especially grateful to our tireless secretary Lauren Straker for making the whole trip run so smoothly, to Neil Wharton for keeping us on the straight and narrow (he’s a drum major by day!) and to our runner Sophia Singleton who also doubled up as our photographer,” he concluded.


Full results from the Tameside region can be found here.


pics: Sophia Singleton



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