Posted: Mon 24th Aug 2020

NHS nurse fundraises for Royal Buckley Town Band facing most challenging time in its 200 year history

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Aug 24th, 2020


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A local nurse has set up a fundraiser to help a brass band in Buckley hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Buckley Town Band is set to celebrate their 200 year anniversary in 2022, but future plans for the coming years have been put on hold.

The band is currently made up of over 60 players, comprising different groups such as Royal Buckley Town Band, Buckley Brass, Buckley Youth Band and the Senior Brass Ensemble.

Karen Fox, an NHS nurse, started playing cornet for the band in 2015, quickly becoming Contest Secretary and now Band Secretary.

She set up the fundraiser in response to the effect COVID-19 has had, which would help cover the essential costs to maintain and provide utilities for the band room.

“Every one of our engagements has been cancelled and with that we lost all our income, on which, as a charity, we depend,” she said.

“It has been totally heart-warming and uplifting to see the response from the wonderful people of Buckley to our GoFundMe appeal.

“We set what we felt was a modest target and players too have contributed ‘subs’ to ensure some small level of income.”

According to Karen, the band is “one of the oldest known brass bands in Britain,” and one of four to be bestowed the ‘Royal’ title, the others being Royal Oakeley, Nantlle Vale Royal and Royal Doulton.

She said: “We are very proud of our ‘Royal’ title, although with the passing of time the actual date when it was bestowed to the band is difficult to pinpoint.

“It is certain we held the title in 1894 and was probably around the 1889-1890 period that permission was given, just after the Band had played in Hawarden Castle before the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra).

“We are, however assured by the Home Office that we are to continue with our ‘Royal’ title.”

In 2019 they won a place to represent Wales in the National Championships of Great Britain, but contests were cancelled in March, so Karen is hoping this may be re-started in 2021.

As well as this, the band have recently supplied a soundtrack to the Jubilee photo montage whilst Buckley Brass came fourth in their Welsh area contest.

The players also represent the band when playing for VE Day and VJ Day.

“Every event has its own character; we always play with pride – mostly they are celebrations, happy times, fun and laughter, sun and rain and lots of marching,” she said.

“It’s wonderful to march through the streets in blazing red and gold uniforms, to lead a parade, to see people lining the streets clapping and cheering and then running along behind.

“Events can be sad and deeply respectful too, such as Remembrance Sunday, the loss of a band or community member – we are there with the community through it all.”

Karen dedicates herself to her craft, and as such spends a lot of her time and energy playing.

She says being a member of the band requires hard work, resilience and being part of something greater than herself.

She is excited for the future to play with her bandmates once again.

“We look forward to the day we will be able to play together once more,” she said.

“We have a duty to protect all our players and families so we will only meet when it is safe to do so.

“There will be changes we need to make to ensure the band room is COVID-safe and we have already started planning ahead for this.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people of Buckley and North Wales for their undying support and in particular for their most generous donations – it would not be possible in these difficult times to have survived without it.

“As a charity, with no income, their donations will help enable us to keep the band room safe and maintained, to make necessary changes, pay utilities and insurance and ensure that we return stronger and prouder than ever to represent Buckley and North Wales in our every venture.”

As of now the band have raised £994 of their £1500 target.

To help the band reach their goal, go to this link to donate: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/help-royal-buckley-town-band

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By Jordan Adams

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