Heron Band on the Run
11 Female members of the HMS Heron Volunteer Band played continuously around a five Kilometre course at a Cancer Research UK “Race for Life” charity event, at Millfield School in Street, Somerset. The scratch Band of 22 musicians was made up of other women from the Royal Naval Volunteer Bands, including HMS's Sultan, Drake, Collingwood and Seahawk.
The girls were a 'Visions in Pink’, as the band joined 1300 other fund-raisers, all with a story to tell of how Cancer has affected them, in completing the course. Running, Jogging, Walking or Marching along the pleasant pathways and surroundings of Millfield School, in the Somerset all raising money for the Cancer charity. The Navy volunteer musicians marched in formation around the circuit playing all the way, led by Drum Major Kerry Edwards, who had recently won top honours at the Royal Navy Volunteer Band's Festival in Portsmouth.
Chief Petty Officer Tom Page of the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, who also plays in the HMS Heron Band, was on hand to assist. “The crowds love it, the first couple of years people at the venues were amazed. It’s a long way to be marching, reading music and playing instruments. We used to take the commentating teams by complete surprise, now we're a regular fixture and get invited to attend”.
In all, the group has played at all the “Race for Life” events in the Band member’s areas. They've done it now for four years and have a distinctive uniform of black Tee shirts with pink accessories, a world away from their normal smart Naval suits. The music though is up to the same high standard you would hear if they were playing on a parade ground or a Navy Function, only this time; it’s over a five kilometre cross country course. Not that this distance bothers them, every February the Heron Band take part in the Cologne Carnival Parade in Germany, which can be as long as eight miles hike around the City whilst marching and playing.
Dr Zoe Goldthrope from the Heron Band; playing the Bass Drum at this year event and organiser of the Yeovilton contribution was pleased with the turn out. “We did the Race for Life five km distance in Southsea, on the south coast two weeks ago with a band of 45 female musicians playing along the whole course. It’s a very good cause; everyone has had a connection with Cancer. It’s a terrific honour to be raising money for such a worthy cause”.
Race for Life is the UK’s biggest fight against cancer and the largest women-only fundraising event in the UK. Since Race for Life started in 1994, an incredible six millions participants have raised over £457million, more than any other UK event series raising money to fund cancer research. Some of the Race for Life women take part in a celebration of surviving a cancer experience. Others take part in memory of a loved one or to give hope to a cancer-free future.