Melton Toy Soldiers veteran stars at marching bands celebration

A veteran member of the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers took centre stage at a special event to celebrate the golden age of marching bands.

Roger Tinsley from the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers playing at the Banding Together event in Derby
Roger Tinsley from the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers playing at the Banding Together event in Derby

Roger Tinsley, who played with the town band for half-a-century, was one of the performers at Banding Together, which also served as a fundraiser for a movie based on the movement which is being planned by Peaky Blinders actor, David Chabeaux.

David was brought up performing in the iconic Derby Serenaders when they were led by his grandfather, Moz Ward.

The actor invited band members from across the East Midlands to take part in the celebration event at Derby and Roger was there showing off his skills dressed in the soldiers’ military-inspired outfit complete with bearskin hat.

The Ambassadors Showband members pictured at the Banding Together event in Derby

Roger (71) put in a dazzling display on the bass drum despite having broken both arms a few years ago, as well as cracking eight ribs and two vertebrae in his back.

At the event he said: “On the bass drum I’m the heartbeat of the band.

"I’ve bounced back from my injuries and it’s great to be here and back with the other bands who are here as well.”

Melton Toy Soldiers stalwarts Brian Gordon, who has played the trumpet with the band for 67 years, and trombone player, Andy Harrison, were also at the event.

Roger Tinsley from the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers playing at the Banding Together event in Derby

The band is still going and would love to welcome new people, especially brass players, to practice sessions on Monday nights.

Organiser David Chabeaux, who has called his film project, Moz’s Band, in tribute to his grandfather, was delighted by the success of the event, which attracted big crowds to Derby.

He said: “It was wonderful, and very moving for me, to see so many people come to the Banding Together day and enjoy the music, marching and inter-generational bonding that brought so many of us together back in the day.

“I’ve never known a sense of belonging like I did when I was part of the Derby Serenaders and I want to spark a new social movement that brings this sense of connection and belonging back to today’s younger generations.”

As well as Melton’s own Toy Soldiers, the Ambassadors of Derby were one of the bands performing at the event, at Borrowash Victoria Football Club.

It was a nostalgic occasion for the hundreds of people who turned up to re-live the glory days. They were joined by members of many bands, including the Heanor Lions, Spondon Legionnaires, Derby Serenaders, Eastwood Arcadians and Breaston Highlanders.

Some who turned up to the event said they had not seen each other in decades, and many got fully into the spirit of the occasion by rising to their feet and spontaneously marching together to music as they once did at carnival parades every weekend.

Trumpet player Dean Turner-Moss, who joined Langley Mill Jubilee Band at the age of nine and stayed on until it disbanded in 1999, said: “I just have really good memories of it all.

“It wasn’t just the music. It was the travelling every weekend of every summer. You knew you were going to be in a different part of the country every weekend.”