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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.

Bletchington Silver Band

On 20th October 1920 a group of local men met behind ‘The Black’s Head’ pub in Bletchington, Oxfordshire to discuss the formation of a brass band. By the end of the evening the ‘Bletchington Prize Band’ had been formed, this is still our official name. The first complete set of instruments cost £10 and was collected from a neighbouring village, whose band had folded, by horse and cart.

The band was very soon successful and was a founder member of the Oxford and District Brass Band Association (ODBBA). Within 5 years they had made a name for themselves in local contests collecting many trophies, and travelling further afield to compete. The band continued successfully into the 1950s, breaking only for World War II and reforming immediately afterwards. In the mid-1950s the band folded due to lack of players but, in the hope of one day reforming the band, one member took charge of all the instruments and music - his name was Fred Saunders (no relation to our present Publicity Officer) and in the early 1960s his dream became a reality when the band reformed.

From then on the band has continued an unbroken run and, although it dropped out of contesting in the 1980s it recently returned to the scene with some small measure of success. Now in its 89th year the band continues to grow in both quantity and quality, 1997 saw the formation of our training band which gives us a larger group of young musicians with which to work. Many of these early learners are now in the Senior Band, in fact our Principle Cornet came through this route.

The Band has continued to build on its success entering the National Brass Band Contest scene in 2003. In 2005, being placed 2nd in the qualifiers, the Band contested the Finals at Harrogate, being placed 18 from 20 bands.

Families have always been an important part of Bletchington Silver Band, in 1920 the first secretary of the band (who did not play himself) had four sons in the band who together made up a prize winning quartet. Throughout our history it has been common for large family groups to be involved in the band, although that is changing these days. We still have quite a number of family groups, with children of senior players learning though our training band. The training band is also fed with children of ex-players, and even parents of young people from the senior band!