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This contest was introduced by Trudi Jenkins (nee Hookway) who was Bideford Town Band’s first lady conductor in 1989, as an inter-band competition where all members were to take part. It was adjudicated by the renowned Brian Buckley from Wales. This was the forerunner of the band’s Open Solo and Quartet Contest which has continued to date. In 1990 there were over 120 entries.
Our adjudicators have included David Read, Roy Sharpe, Steve Sykes, Brett Baker, to name but a few.
After Trudi got married and moved to Somerset, Cyril and Jane Pascoe took over the running of the Contest and continued to for over 20 years. The contest is now organised by Tim and Sarah Watts who continue to run a very successful event and will carry on for the foreseeable future.
As the Contest grew in popularity, it became necessary to use two Adjudicators. Entries still peak at around 120, competitors coming from far and wide: Wales, the Midlands, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Cornwall as well as our own and local players.
It is very rewarding to see the contest attended by so many younger (aged 12 and below) competitors; this reassures us about the future of brass banding.
We are indebted to all the local support we get each year from local businesses and the Town Council and Bridge Trust. In 1989 many trophies/shields were given by the town and individuals and these are still being used today.