Friday 17th May 2013

We received an invitation from The Town Council to provide music on the Lifeboat Quay during the visit of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to St Ives

Pipers:  Nigel, Stuart, Tom G, Alex M, Rob, Ian, Miranda, Keith G, David, Chris, Keith N
Guest piper: Matt

Drummers: Snare – Geoff, Tom W, Steve; Tenor  Andrew; Bass Keith I

Flag Bearer – Alex

There was excited expectancy in the air as the Band members prepared for this prestigious royal engagement. The weather was perfect with blue skies and warm sunshine and hardly a breeze stirring in the trees.  The venue was St Ives and the Band was to play at the RNLI event attended by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The engagement had come about through the hard work and diligence of three band members with just 5 days’ notice.

The Members had gathered in the top car park well before 9 am and were tuning their pipes. There was a buoyancy in their steps as they made their way down from the car park to partake of refreshment before assembling in front of the Guildhall for a practice session and photo shoot.

No 1 Dress was worn, with feather bonnets and medals. The road along the seafront was crowded with up to six people deep in places and the constabulary was much in evidence along the royal route.

At the Quayside the Band parted company with wives and followers. At this point for the first time your roving reporter takes over…

The Band made its way on to the Quay and while the Band knew that wives would not have access it came as a bit of a shock to realize they were not there. Only later found out they had been ushered along the seafront by the Constabulary. On the Quay the Band formed into a crescent facing up the slipway and played through the list of the tunes for the day to great applause from the crowds along the Quay and the Harbour Road. The Band had superb views of the Royal Party, and were only yards away from where they were chatting to the Lifeboat Crews. The Queen looked lovely in lilac and the Duke wore a bronze coloured lounge suit, both looking very well after their illnesses.

During the Scotland the Brave Set the Queen arrived and the music ceased.. After introductions to the attending Dignitaries, the Royal Party made their way on to the slipway where they were introduced to the Lifeboat Crews, both the large boat and inshore rib being laid up. At this point your roving reporter saw the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall speak to his Army Cadet who stepped smartly across to the Band and passed the Colonel’s invitation to the Pipe Major to be presented to the Queen. The atmosphere around the Band was buzzing. The Royal Party then made its way back to the Lifeboat Station where they unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit. Following that a couple of speeches were made by dignitaries regarding RNLI Fundraising and the royal party then moved off down the road. Soon the Band began to play again forming into two files they marched up the slipway and out on to the road and headed towards the old slipway playing Green Hills and Battles O’er. Halfway along the road your roving reporter handed over the commentary but would make a final comment that there was a definite swagger to their march.

The Band looked stunning and sounded amazing, the Flag Bearer held The Union Jack aloft stoically – showing great endurance in spite of the crowds around him and his very young age. The onlookers could not get enough of the music as their cries of “more, more” were heard throughout. As the Band was dismissed and made their way along the Quay there were many requests for photos and comments like “you looked as good as you played” were made.

Tunes played during the engagement included the following – Scotland the Brave, Marie’s Wedding, Amazing Grace, Towerhill Dreams, Green Hills, Battles O’er, Colins Cattle and Shoals of Herring, Three Slow Airs, Last of the Great Whales, Highland Cathedral, Dark Isle, and Scotland the Brave set.

It had been a hugely successful occasion and one that will go down in the Band’s history as a very special and euphoric day. By 1300 the rain came in with a vengeance but far too late to spoil the day’s very successful performance.