Regimental Band Reunion 2016
After 12 months of preparation the day finally came when former members of the KOSB Regimental band started arriving in Berwick for their 11th Biennial reunion on Friday 16th Sept. All ranks were invited and all ranks attended from Bandmaster to Bandsman although nowadays of course rank is no longer relevant! Some were at their first reunion and turned up a little apprehensive, many have attended every reunion and soon all were busy blethering away renewing old acquaintances and forging new friendships. The band reunion is open to all former members and their families and as such it was great to see Tineka Bell, wife of the late Dinger Bell, their son Leslie and his son Mikey. Alex Campbell, who trained at Berwick in 1960, came with his daughter Linda Mezals and James ‘Spud’ Neil travelled from Australia, despite recently having treatment for throat cancer and still on medication. Not forgetting everyone else who turned up of course!
The gang got together on Friday at the Brewers Arms in Berwick were Margaret laid on a fantastic buffet for us free of charge with the only stipulation being a donation to Veterans Helping Veterans, run by my good friend Vince Davidson, a KOSB veteran. A donation of £150 was raised to help Vince in his work. Whilst there we were blessed by a visit from John Pender MM who happened to be holidaying in Berwick with some family at the time. It was Johns version of Hey Wee Maun we recorded at the last reunion to raise funds for MacMillan. A great night was had while arrangements were being made for the Saturday activities.
Saturday arrived with more than a few ‘sair heids’ as they prepared to get to their destinations. Three brave souls went with Vince to try fly fishing, Peter Butler the experienced one, Gary Bowdidge a sea fisherman giving it a go and Ronnie Davison trying fishing for the first time. A great day was had and another donation was made to Veterans Helping Veterans for laying on the fishing trip. Only one fish was caught but they came back with the inevitable tale of ‘the one that got away’ which has resulted in the obvious ribbing that Peter has had since!
Whilst these guys went fishing nine others headed off to Magdalene Fields Golf Club to have a round of golf. There was a few experienced golfers and around half with little or no golf experience at all which was fairly obvious as I watched them tee off! However, great banter mixed with some good golf meant they had an enjoyable day with the unexpected winner being Gordon Brotherston (who will not be getting a 28 handicap next year!) Of course, when we all got together later it was all about the what could have been if I’d sunk that putt! All are looking forward to the next one in 2 years. Thanks to Maggie Fields GC for giving me mates rates on the golf.
Whilst the fishermen fished and the golfers well, hacked, the remaining members visited the museum where they thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits and Alex Campbell reminisced about his time there in the 60’s doing his training. He took his daughter Linda round and renewed his friendship with his old friend Tineka Bell who he hadn’t see for many many years. Several members wanted to purchase regimental gifts so big thanks to Peter for opening the shop for us.
Saturday continued as we all gathered in the Brewers Arms ready to proceed to the Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant which has become a tradition for our reunion meal. More tales of golfing prowess were told and argued over handicaps and missed putts (a bit like the Ryder Cup I just watched!) and of course the ribbing continued over this fish that got away! Another excellent evening in fine company was rounded off by Bob Bolton thanking everyone for coming to what was a fantastic reunion.
Sunday morning was a time for all to say their good byes for now, exchange telephone numbers with their new friends and make arrangements for the next time we get together. Most have already rebooked their hotels and b & b’s. All we need now is for other former members to take the plunge and come join us for a fun filled weekend where old grievances are forgotten (and believe me there was a few) as we are all older and wiser and most importantly, Borderers!
Next reunion is going to be a special one. The dates are 14-16th September 2018 when it will have been 25 years since the Regimental Band was formally disbanded and we would like to see as many former members and their families come along as possible. Overall we had 34 turn up this year with a couple only able to stay Friday and a few arriving just for Saturday. I would love to see double that number at the next one so get it in your diaries now, book your holidays, book your accommodation, get yourselves to Berwick for this very special event.
Once A Borderer, Always A Borderer.
Bob Bolton XXV