The Prince of Wales has added a new patronage to his ever-growing list. Prince Charles is the new patron of West of England Bandsman’s Festival – better known as Bugle Band Contest.
It is one of Cornwall’s oldest and most celebrated music festivals, now in its 102nd year.
“We suggested to the Duchy that perhaps he’d like to become patron, and they said you can ask but don’t hold your breath because he gets a large amount of requests. But we went through the whole process anyway, and then lo and behold just before Christmas we had the letter from Clarence House to confirm that he was happy to do it,” Festival spokesman Philip Hunt commented.
Musicians, conductors and adjudicators from throughout the country come together on Bugle for a day of competition.
The competition has a strong Royal past. In 1913 during the second year of the competition, the then Prince of Wales who was friends with festival president Colonel Sir William Charles Eldon Sergeant CB, awarded the winner with the HRH The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup.
Since 1913, it has been known as The Royal Trophy and bestowed upon the leading band at the contest.
In 1937, The Duchy of Cornwall started giving a medal to the band members that were able to win The Royal Trophy three times in a row. The Duchy Steward awarded the first group of medals. Only 13 groups of medals were awarded as the practise ended in 2000.
During its Golden Jubilee commemoration in 1974, Charles awarded a silver inscribed instrument to the leading cornet player in the championship division.
In 2013 during the trophy’s centenary, the festival received a personal message from the Prince, and a personally signed certificate that was presented to the band winning the Royal Trophy.
Following the 2013 Festival, committee members as well as the winning band members from the St Austell Band had the privilege of showing the Royal Trophy to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the local town of Lostwithiel.
“There’s always been a strong royal connection, and the medals in particular are still really prized,” said Mr Hunt, who added that he hoped Prince Charles would write a note for this year’s festival programme,” Hunt noted.
The 2015 West of England Bandsmen’s Festival will be held in Bugle on Saturday 20 June. For further information visit buglebandcontest.co.uk
Photo Courtesy of West of England Bandsmen’s Festival @webf_bugle