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Lympstone South West Telecoms Brass Band
Lympstone is a picturesque village on the Exe estuary between Exeter and Exmouth and boasts a brass band whose origins can be traced back over a hundred years. The parish log records the Lympstone band performing at the Harvest Home and Sunday School Feast in the summer of 1889.
It is thought that the band evolved from the Brass Band of the 1st Devon Artillery Volunteers (Lympstone Company). The band was present at the unveiling of the village war memorial in 1923 after the Great War of 1914 - 1918, and was then known as The Lympstone Silver Band. The band combined with the now defunct Topsham Silver Band for a period after the Second World War 1939 - 1945 and was based at Topsham Methodist Church in the 1960's and 1970's.
The band has now returned to Lympstone and has had mixed fortunes over the years but the has recently undergone something of a revival in the past 10 years under its Musical Director Charles Fleming who was appointed in January 1997 and immediately achieved success in March 1997, winning its first contest in over a hundred years by taking first place in the fourth section at the area contest in Torquay. The band also gained sponsorship from South West Telecoms and was renamed Lympstone South West Telecoms Brass Band.
Over the next three years to 2000, the band received three 1st places at the South West Brass Band Association Contests and 1st places at Weston-Super-Mare, Bugle and Bideford contests. Another 1st place at the West of England Area Championships lead to the band winning through, to the National Brass Band Finals in September 1999. The Finals were held in Nottingham where Lympstone finally fulfilled their dreams and became the Fourth Section National Champions of Great Britain!
The band were then promoted to the 3rd section where they immediately gained a 1st place at the area contest once again qualifying for the National Finals for the 4th time in a row. This time the band came 3rd place, a magnificent achievement in just 4 years. The following year after another good year of two 1st prizes, two 2nd prizes, two 3rd prizes, a 4th and a 9th the band were once again promoted, this time to the 2nd section. Since then the band have received many 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes and qualified for another 2 National Finals in the 2nd Section (2003 and 2006). The National Final in 2003 took the band the furthest it has travelled all the way to Dundee and in 2006 the band were promoted to the 1st Section for the first time in its history.
The Band and its Training Band keep its links with village by performing at local events. One of the most popular occasions is the famous Lympstone Furry Dance which takes place on the first Saturday of August. The band leads a procession of brightly dressed dancers through the winding village streets. This traditional part of the village life dates back to 14th century for trading and possibly even further back into pagan times.
The band also gives regular concerts at venues in Exeter and East Devon, notably at the Annual Family Memorial Service each July at Exeter Crematorium, the annual Last night of the Proms (Exmouth Rotary Club) at the Exmouth Pavilion and leading the Remembrance Sunday parades at Taunton and Dawlish and other community events. Previous engagements include prestigious appearances at St George's Hall, Exeter as a featured event under the wing of the very successful Exeter Festival. One of which was in November 2007 at 'Classics Galore!'. The band joined forces with the Exeter Symphony Orchestra, Exmouth and Ottery St Mary Choral Societies and Soloist Alison Burnett to raise money for the FORCE Cancer Charity. Other events have included a joint concert with the highly regarded Bodmin Town Band, and an appearance with the Mount Charles Band at Plymouth Pavilions in February 2000.
The band is also proud and fortunate to have the renowned composer and arranger Gordon Langford as its patron.
In 2009 the band moved to a dedicated band centre which was bought by South West Telecoms. It has full rehearsal, storage and recording facilities and will be used regularly as a concert venue for the band. Many of the orginial features have been kept including the church pews and the church organ, which the band plans to use within their concert programmes.