Men of brass in Queen's New Years Honours

British Bandsman - Tuesday, July 18, 2000

The Queen's New Year Honours List acknowledged the services of another two British Bandsmen. Gerald Thirst from the Stalham Band learnt of his MBE for services to music in Norfolk soon after he had celebrated 50 years at the helm of the band and was accepted as an entry into the Guinness book of World Records. Although Gerald handed over the baton to his son Tim last year, the Stalham-born man is still a regular euphonium player with the band and is now in his 76th year of brass banding. After the band's hectic Christmas schedule Gerald spent the New Year at home with his family, giving interviews to the local press and radio.

Ian Clague, conductor of the Manx Youth Band also received an MBE for his services to music on the Isle of Man. The conductor of Manx Concert Brass and Manx Youth Band told BB: "When I first heard about the award, I thought someone was taking the mickey! It came as quite a shock." Pondering his achievement, Ian added: "I think that a lot of people have done a lot more for banding than I have and I think that they should be acknowledged." When asked who he felt deserved a New Year Honour, he replied, "Derek Broadbent, for example, he's done a lot of work for the band scene."

Not that the news has had time to sink in, Ian regards his award as a reflection on his two bands' achievements and hopes it will help to raise the profile of brass. From the band's perspective, they are over the moon and are looking forward to a successful future with their newly honoured bandmaster.