It’s party time as long-standing Melton marching band prepares to celebrate 80th birthday

The Melton Toy Soldiers Band on the march at the Brackley Carnival procession last year EMN-160727-170725001
The Melton Toy Soldiers Band on the march at the Brackley Carnival procession last year EMN-160727-170725001
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A long-standing Melton band will be getting into the party spirit next month to celebrate its 80th birthday.

Since forming in 1936 the Melton Toy Soldiers have performed all over the country and abroad, winning more than their fair share of band competitions along the way.

They’ve performed at fetes, galas and carnivals, helping charities to raise funds in the process, and have also performed in America, Germany, France and won a world championship for marching bands held in the Isle of Man.

The band, which also perform illuminated displays and parades, has also led its section twice in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Parade.

To celebrate the band’s 80-year milestone members are organising a party in their band room in Wilton Road on Saturday, August 13, starting at 7pm.

Admission is free and the entertainment will include a disco, barbecue and a show by former and current band members. It’s hoped as many former members as possible will come along to join in the fun.

Melton Toy Soldiers’ secretary Brian Gordon joined the band in 1955 when his eldest brother was also a member.

Brian, who is now in his 61st year with the band, still plays and marches with them.

He said: “It’s a good way of keeping fit, doing all of the marching we do, and playing instruments at the same time.

“There aren’t many of our type of bands left nowadays. We’re currently recruiting and will take children from the age of eight, and adults of any age, and teach them to play a musical instrument of their choice and to march and then to perform at various venues helping other charities to raise funds for their worthy causes.

“All instruments, uniforms and travel are completely free of charge. All we ask for is a 50p per week subscription.”

The band currently practice on Monday and Friday in Egerton Park, 7pm to 8pm, learning different routines during their march and display nights.

Its bandroom in Wilton Road is hired out by groups most nights but is available for hire during the day.

Brian said at one time, a few years ago, the band had about 75 members. The current cohort stands at about 23.

He said: “We could do with at least another 10 members. We lost three or four members last year because they’re in their 60s but we’ve picked up seven new members this year, four of whom are excellent trumpet players.”

l Anyone interested in joining the band or for more details call Brian on (01664) 854196.

You can visit the band’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Melton-Mowbray-Toy-Soldiers-133400120030339/