Saturday 13th September
Massed Bands Bideford Pipe Band Rally and Carnival
70th Anniversary of D Day

Pipers:  Nigel, Alex, Tom G, Keith G, Chris, David C, David T, Felicity, Miranda, Stewart

Guest Pipers: James, Keith LN

Drummers: Snare – James M, Tenor – Vic, Bass – Keith I

Guest Bass Drummer – Sue, Drum Major – Andrew

It was a prestigious event for the Band taking part in the Massed Bands Parade and Carnival in Bideford.  The weather was cloudy but dry and breezy, Dress Code was No 1s with Bonnets with the option of Capes and Glengarries should the weather turn. There was a good turnout of members with 10 pipers plus two guest pipers, 3 drummers plus a guest drummer and Drum Major. The meeting place was in the car park of the old Cattle Market which was adjacent to a very large recreation ground containing an area for Rugby/Football, a bowling green, a children’s play area with a shallow bathing pool and a funfair – most of the amenities were well in use by the Public.

Including the Kernow Band from Cornwall and the Bideford Band, there were to be ten Pipe and Drum Bands from the areas of Birmingham, South Wales, Cheltenham, Plymouth, Epping Forest, Bristol, Exeter and North Devon (two Bands). Also taking part was the Bideford Silver Band and the Barnstaple Youth Marching Band.

At 16.30 hours the various bands assembled on the Rugby Pitch and the massed bands rehearsed together for an hour and practised counter marching up and down the field. At one time the Bideford Pipes and Drums Band marched to the fore and formed a semicircle where they led the assembled Bands with their solo start of Highland Cathedral.

At 18.00 hours the Carnival started led by the Fire Engine, and Bideford Royalty. Also taking part were Fancy Dressers, Bideford Rotary Club, Majorettes, various Carnival Queens, RSPCA, Tarka Radio to name but a few entrants. The twelve Bands were slotted in among the entrants and the Kernow Band had the fourth place. It was a spectacular show with the different Bands and their individual tartans on display. All the procession roads were crowded with locals and holiday makers who were enthusiastic in their continuing applause.

The Kernow Pipes and Drums Band played the Carnival Five Sets during the Carnival procession which were –  Green Hills/Battles O’er, Scotland the Brave/Rowan Tree/Wings/Bonny Galloway, Scotland the Brave/Mairi’s Wedding, Collin’s Cattle/Shoals of Herring, Cockney Jocks/Rainbow Country/Bluebells of Scotland.

As the Carnival proceeded along the main route the various bands turned in to the side streets to wait its return to rejoin at their allotted slot in the procession. By 19.30 the Carnival had run its course and the Bands fell out to partake of the free pasties and drinks which had been kindly provided by the Organisers. At 19.45 the Announcer introduced each Pipe and Drum Band individually as it marched, playing to the crowds, along the Quay and past the VIP area where they fell out at the bottom of the High Street and walked across the bridge. As the last Pipe and Drum Band left the Bideford Town Silver Band came out to entertain followed by the lively Barnstaple Youth Marching Band.

20.45 hours and the Massed Band marched over the Bridge playing Steam Boat, 100 Pipers, Bonnie Dundee – Green Hills, Battles O’er, Lochanside. As they marched along the Quay they played, Teribus, Barren Rocks, Brown Haired Maiden, Mairi’s Wedding and into Finale positions played Scotland the Brave, Rowan Tree, and Na awa tae bide awa, and static played My Home. There then followed a Tribute to the D-Day Landing lone piper Bill Millin by his son who told the emotive story of his father’s experience as a piper and how he was nearly shot by a German soldier who changed his mind saying it was bad luck to kill an insane person.

The Bideford Pipes and Drums played Highland Cathedral and the Mayor of Bideford was called upon to say a few words. He began by saying “You will always be welcome in Bideford and to stay as long as you like”. He talked about the important background work that goes on to make the day such a success. The Mayor went on to say how he was so proud of his “little white town and how proud he was of the public”. After this warm and welcoming speech it did feel like Bideford was a town that really cared for its people. The Chieftain was asked to take the Salute and Highland Laddie was played and a Presentation was made to the Chieftain.

It was 21.15 and permission was granted to march the Massed Pipes and Drums off to the sound of Scotland the Brave and The Black Bear and this was met with wild cheering and hand clapping from the still crowded roads. On dismissal some members sought refreshment before their long trip home, while others enjoyed the night air walking carefully across the darkened field to their cars before the skies dramatically exploded with a spectacular firework display. The Bideford Massed Pipes and Drums and Carnival had been an amazing experience perhaps never to be forgotten!