P.C. Tonkin & Son

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Bugle Silver Band History

Bugle Silver Band was formed in 1868 at Gracca, which is a small hamlet at the foot of the clay hills on the North West side of the village of Bugle. Unfortunately there has been very little written about the band until the early 1900ís. Captain Sam Mennear was the Bandmaster at the turn of the century followed by Mr. C. Kestle. In 1912 Mr J Kestle took over and continued until after the First World War.

During the war the band was in the form of a Boys Band. In 1921 Mr. E.J. Williams became Bandmaster and due to his efforts the standard of the band was raised considerably. Mr Williams was of course the father of the late Mr. Eddie Williams who was well known for his many years service with the St. Dennis Band.

In 1927 Bugle Band was the first band to play on the Plymouth Hoe, playing there for four successive days. This was the for-runner of many concerts played on the Hoe, which eventually saw many top bands such as Black Dyke Mills, Fodens Motor Works and CWS Manchester.

During this time the band had many successes, winning at several contests around the country.

Bugle Silver was disbanded during the Second World War, and in 1945 was reformed under the leadership of Mr. Richard Lean. In 1947 - 1963 Mr. Gordon Bennetts became Musical Director and many prizes were won, including a high placing at the Belle Vue Contest. After Mr Bennetts died Mr Hugh Camps became his successor and remained with the Band until 1977. This was one of the most successful periods Bugle Band had experienced, it entered the Area Contest at Bristol for the first time in 1969 and won the third section by 9 clear points from the band that came second. In the seventies the band qualified for the National Finals in London playing in the second section on 3 occasions and locally competed several times in the Championship Section.

In this period the Band started winning many prizes for its marching and deportment at the West of England Bandsmen's Festival and have carried this through into the 21st century winning 7 times in the last 10 years.

Our longest playing members are Mr Geoff Pedlar (Bb Bass) 58 years, Mr Morley Harris (2nd Baritone) approx 50 years, Mr David Jane (Principal Cornet Player for 32 years) and a member for 37 years, and his wife Mrs Verlaine Jane (Soprano) for 31 years were all presented with long service certificates in 2001.

Photograph of the first Bugle Band Contest in Peniel in 1912.

The main prize was the Royal Trophy which was obtained mostly through the efforts of Sir William Sergeant of Lanivet, the committee of the local institute and the band with its secretary, Mr Richards. Mr Richards can be seen standing in the doorway of his shop.