Watton band gets royal invitation

Watton Town Council hold a birthday celebration for the Queen's 90th Birthday.

Watton Town Council hold a birthday celebration for the Queen's 90th Birthday. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

An instrumental band are trumpeting their success after being chosen to perform for Queen Elizabeth II during her official birthday celebrations in June.

Phoenix Pipes and Drums, based in Watton, are among 90 pipes and drums players who have been selected to lead a parade to Buckingham Palace on Sunday, June 12.

Seven members of the band, which has played at other ceremonial occasions including last year's celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, will also be performing at a Patron's Lunch to celebrate the monarch's official birthday.

Stan Hebborn, pipe major for Phoenix Pipes and Drums, was contacted by the organisers of the Patrons' Lunch to request the band's presence.

He said: 'I was very pleased when I got the call, as although both bands have performed at a number of high-profile ceremonial engagements in the last 12 months, this is probably the greatest honour and privilege for all of us taking part.

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'For Phoenix Pipes and Drums to be able to pay respects to Her Majesty on her birthday and on behalf of the residents of Watton is truly wonderful.'

Mr Hebborn added that the band are keeping the playlist for the royal event 'close to their chest'.

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The birthday parade, which will be televised, will see around 100 pipes and drums players march from Horse Guards Parade up The Mall to Buckingham Palace and back down Birdcage Walk.

The following Patron's Lunch, a street party lunch for 10,000 guests taking place on The Mall, will celebrate the Queen's patronage of more than 600 charities and is the first event of its kind to be held on the iconic London thoroughfare.

The band will be led by senior drum major Paul Lumley, of Southern Highlanders Pipes and Drums, for whom Mr Hebborn is a senior executive officer.

Phoenix Pipes and Drums was formed in February 2015 and now has more than 20 members who hail from around Norfolk, from Watton and Carbrooke to Fakenham and Corpusty, and includes at least three members under the age of 18.

The band was involved in local celebrations for the Queen's actual birthday in April, providing entertainment at the town council's royal birthday party.

The band practises in Watton every Wednesday. To find out more go to www.ppd.org.uk or email pm@ppd.org.uk.

Is your group or organisation involved in a big event? Email bethany.whymark@archant.co.uk

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