Band on the run – and bikes – for NHS fundraiser

When their trip to perform in the USA was cancelled by the virus, Royal Marines musicians from Devon decided to put the practice time to good use.

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines from the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, near Exeter, were due to appear at the Virginia International Tattoo, the largest event of its type in America, drawing more than 1,000 of the world’s finest military musicians and performers and pulling in an audience of nearly 40,000.

Instead, the Brits decided to run, walk or cycle the distance between their base on the Exe estuary in the time normally reserved for practice sessions, raising money for the NHS in the process.

“We worked out the distance roughly from our home to Norfolk in Virginia,” said Bandmaster Warrant Officer 2 Jules Cook.

Bandmaster Warrant Officer 2 Jules Cook

We were all moved and humbled by the work being done by the NHS during this challenging time and so hope our efforts help in some small way.

“I was a bit concerned initially when I saw it was a total 3,500 miles, but also quietly confident we could do it between us.

“It was amazing to see that we actually completed the challenge a day early – also surpassing the target by some 421 miles.

“We were all moved and humbled by the work being done by the NHS during this challenging time and so hope our efforts help in some small way.”

The band set itself a target of £1k – and were (mid-May) still a little over £300 short of that sum, so if you want to reward their efforts… and help NHS Charities Together, you can still donate: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/the-band-of-her-majesty-s-royal-marines-ctcrm-lympstone

As with many other professional music organisations, the Royal Marines Band Service has seen all its public performances cancelled indefinitely.

As the musicians are all medically trained and many have experience of deploying regularly on major operations, all ranks have been on 48 hours’ notice to support the Royal Navy’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic for the past couple of months.