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Cheltenham Silver Band
In 1937 a number of employees of Aircraft Components Limited (which later became Dowty) formed a work's band with the permission and co-operation of the then management. Despite the war, the band did not suffer as much as many Brass Bands. The aircraft industry was a reserved occupation and the band continued playing in the works canteen and at Christmas parties. After the war the bands fortunes faded. Few public performances were given and attendance at band practice suffered badly. Eventually, following a rift with the management, the band moved away from the Aircraft Company in 1946.
The band took on the name of Cheltenham Spa Silver Band although there was no formal association with the town. The final break with Dowty's was made when the band sold the old uniforms and bought new ones (actually modified second hand police uniforms).
There was much coming and going of players in this early period but in 1949 the band entered the West of England Brass Band Championships in Exeter and gained a creditable sixth place. This was followed by a second place in the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association contest held in Cheltenham Town Hall in 1950. The contest was preceded by the competing bands marching from the Queens Hotel to the Town Hall.
Through the fifties to the early sixties, the band made steady progress in the contesting field and, in 1961, reached third place in the second section in the West of England Championships in the Colston Hall, Bristol. This was followed by seventh place at the National Championship Finals. The second section being held in the Kensington Town Hall. The band was promoted to the Championship Section in 1962.
The then Bandmaster Gil Gardiner asked for more rehearsals to help meet the demands of being in the Championship. Many members felt that they could not give the commitment and eventually Gil resigned in
February 1962. This was followed by many other resignations and the band hit a low point in 1966 when there
were only eight stalwarts left. However, despite a brief revival, the bands fortunes did not improve until 1968.
In July 1968 the band dropped the Spa from its name and became The Cheltenham Silver Band.
1968 to 1972 were troublesome years for the band with many Bandmasters coming and going before Noel Martin became Bandmaster in 1972. A number of school children joined the band and once again numbers were up to respectable levels and the band started appearing at local events again.
The band continues to this day at its new rehearsal rooms in Ullenwood Court. It has a busy schedule, and in
2005 entered its first contest in 5 years, the local GBBA.