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Issue 6062

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West of England Bandsmen's Festival retains royal patronage

Tuesday 23 June, 2020

The West of England Bandsmen’s Festival has received a royal seal of approval with the news that HRH The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, has agreed to extend his patronage of the festival, founded in 1912.

The royal family has had a long connection with the festival, held annually in the village of Bugle in mid Cornwall. In 1913, at the second festival, the then Prince of Wales, Duke of Windsor, presented the event with a unique trophy, the HRH The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup, thanks to the influence and friendship of Colonel Sir William Charles Eldon Serjeant CB, president of the Bandsmen’s Festival. Known as The Royal Trophy, it has been awarded to the leading band of the day ever since and is the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom. The royal connection was strengthened in 1937 when the Duchy of Cornwall donated a medal to each member of any band that succeeded in winning The Royal Trophy three times in a row. On its Golden Jubilee in 1974 the Bandsmen’s Festival was again honoured when the present Duke of Cornwall presented it with a silver inscribed trumpet to be awarded to the leading cornet player of the day in the Championship Section. In 2013, the centenary of the presentation of the Royal Trophy, the festival received a message from The Duke of Cornwall and a signed certificate from him, to be presented to the band winning the Royal Trophy. Shortly after the 2013 festival, committee members and members of the St Austell Band had the privilege of showing the Royal Trophy to The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall on their visit to the local town of Lostwithiel. 

A spokesperson for the West of England Bandsmen’s Festival said: “The festival is delighted that this royal connection has continued to be further strengthened in this way. The trustees are always mindful of maintaining the long-established traditions of this open air festival, while endeavouring to ensure it reflects the requirements of the present day.

“The trustees are disappointed, that due to the current situation, the 96th festival will not be held this year but a virtual march through the village of Bugle will be broadcast live on Facebook at 10am on what would have been the festival day on Saturday, June 20. We are hoping that players and spectators will engage with this broadcast and that in some small way, it might help to keep the spirit of the festival in people’s thoughts and minds at this difficult time.”