Pipers: Ali, Emma, Miranda, Adam, Allan, Alex, Dave, Donny, Julian, Keith, Ryan and Nigel
Drummers: Anita, Chris, Ed, Kelvyn, Keith and Steve
The Kernow Pipes and Drums sent a large contingent to Arnhem for the commemorations of Operation MARKET GARDEN over the weekend of 19-25 September.
The band left early on the Thursday morning with 15 playing members and one supporter and picked up Julian and Ryan from the City of Bristol and then Allan en route to the tunnel. The expedition had been long since planned, but a last minute hitch in the transport arrangements gave Miranda, Emma and Dave a shed load of last minute changes to vehicles, nominated drivers, insurance and tunnel bookings! So it was due to those efforts that we successfully arrived at our hotel on the outskirts of Brugges for a well earned pint!
On the road early next morning and arrived at the Gelredome Stadium in Arnhem and straight into the first rehearsal to get tuned at 480 htz and practise the tunes and massed band marching positions. It was then on to the coaches for the march across John Frost Bridge playing Kilworth Hills/Bloody Fields of Flanders to the memorial garden for the wreath laying service. A long stand and it was a relief to get moving again as we marched into Arnhem town centre before returning to the Supportershome for some refreshments. It had been a couple of tiring days and we set off for the accommodation before the main group to get booked in and get our heads down.
Saturday morning started with a rehearsal at the campsite before setting off again for the stadium to prepare for the afternoon parades in Arnhem city centre. In the hot weather this proved to be a major effort, and the rehydration/rest stops were essential, but also gave us an opportunity to speak to the local residents.
The evening brought the band on to the pitch of Arnhem Vitesse as half time entertainment and it was a great experience to be under the floodlights in front of a big crowd. The veterans were played in and out of the supporters home and it was moving to see how well they are respected and honoured by the Arnhem Vitesse FC and of course the people of Arnhem itself.
Sunday brought a lie in and a more relaxed march around the city centre before a final meal together and party which included some amazing demonstration piping.
Monday was departure day and an opportunity to chat together at the campsite before an emotional farewell from Danielle and Ruud who had done a magnificent job of organising and running the whole weekend. It is not an easy task to bring together 120 musicians for 4 days of events and we would like to thank all those that helped and in particular the volunteers who served us food and drinks at the Supportershome. Thank you. Another memorable weekend in Arnhem!
Photos courtesy of Gordon, Seaforth Highlanders