Brass band able to hit the road thanks to winter wonderland trailer
When a Warbleton Brass Band member realised that COVID restrictions would mean the band wouldn’t be able to perform the normal Christmas concerts in the community he had to find a way around the problem.
As well as providing entertainment, getting out and about was also vital for raising funds to keep the band going and for charity the RNLI.
Peter Morgan, who returned to playing an instrument after 35 years so he could play alongside his daughter Georgina, came up with a plan for a Winter Wonderland trailer.
Despite some scepticism, a curtain-sided box was purchased from Ebay and an old chassis that was otherwise destined for the scrapyard was modified to carry it around the area.
“We had to put a new axle on the trailer that was kindly donated by Paul Littlemore of Netherfield and we borrowed a neighbouring farmers JCB to lift the curtain-side box onto the trailer – everybody was keen to help!”
Then it was a case of the whole Morgan family – Lucinda, Angus, Duncan and Georgina – setting about making the float. All-in-all, it took around eight days to complete and kept the family busy during the November lockdown.
“It was a real family project with the aim of taking carols back to the villages. In the past the band would have performed at Warbleton church, many pubs & private homes, and the annual band Christmas Concert for people around the area – all of that was cancelled.”
Angus Morgan stepped in and offered to decorate his tractor with lights and tow the float. His brother Duncan and friend Rob formed a convoy to make sure the float was visible to other road users.
“Thank you to everyone who supported us. All the band members were very touched. Some of the care homes we visited hadn’t had entertainment since March so it made a real difference to them,” added Peter.
The band visited many areas over the weekend of 19th and 20th December. There were lights, music, a giant snowman as well as smoke and snow. The tour started in Heathfield High Street, moving on to Punnetts Town, Rushlake Green, Windmill Hill and finishing outside the Merrie Harriers in Cowbeech. Sunday afternoon began at Chilley Farm, Pevensey moving on to Hilliers in Stone Cross, KFC/Tesco in Hailsham, Rushlake Green and finishing in Bodle Street.
Band Leader Sian Buss added: “We must say a big thank you to Peter, his family and friends for all the hard work they put into making the weekend a great success. It was a busy weekend but worth it to bring a little bit of Christmas cheer in these difficult times. It was lovely to see so many that came along to support the band. An amazing £800 was collected for the band and RNLI, this year’s chosen charity. We especially appreciated the wearing of face masks and all the effort that was taken to maintain social distancing. Next year will be bigger and better.”
The icing on the cake was the Warbleton Brass Band being presented with a WOW Award by The Rushlake Green Village Leaf. The judges said: “This was an amazingly dedicated labour of love for all concerned. From the team that constructed the trailer and handled all the technicals to the stalwarts in the band, all enthusiastically braving the elements to bring some much needed joy to local communities. For the Band this Christmas activity bookended a year when, like many others, they have been constantly discovering new ways to practice and share their music.”