The Cinque Ports Corps of Drums at the Autumn Show & Game Fair
Ardingly, 4th October, 2015
The Autumn Show & Game Fair at the South of England Showground has become something
of a family day for The Cinque Ports Corps of Drums. Drummer Smithers’ wife Pam,
daughter Lucy and grand-daughters Lily and Ruby were there, as was Drummer Dunn’s
wife, Norma. The Drummers Byrne had their younger daughter Niamh with them, and Drummer
Fairfax had brought her husband along too.
Maybe it’s the fact we’re there in support of ABF The Soldiers Charity, maybe it’s
the opportunity to bring family dogs, maybe it’s the free sandwiches and cakes provided,
but this engagement has a character all its own. With our grandstand view of the
arena we enjoyed watching assorted gun dogs, sheep dogs, ponies and donkeys do their
stuff. But before long it was time to kit up for our first performance.
Forming up beside the Punch and Judy stall (“That’s the way to do it!”) we marched
round to the arena playing Galanthia. Halting in the arena we stepped off to our
Soldiers Selection – Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant Major/Reveille/There’s Something
About a Soldier/Soldiers of The Queen. After halting for polite applause from the
audience we stepped off again with The Great Escape followed by Killaloe.
At the halt we then played three Retreats -The Ash Grove/Flow Gently Sweet Afton/Mandora
followed by See the Conquering Hero Comes. Stepping off again, we exited the arena
playing Children’s Love and our Sussex Medley – Sussex By The Sea/Let The Hills Resound/The
Our lunchtime sandwiches and cakes were enjoyed to the sight of a man in a fox suit
being ‘hunted’ by an enormous pack of ravening children. When this cunning evasion
of The Hunting Act 2004 was over we assembled beside Mr Punch again for our second
session in the arena.
After marching on to The Adjutant we halted to sound the bugle fanfare Westminster.
We then stepped off in slow time playing The King of the Fairies, breaking in to
quick time for Euterpe. After halting we set off on our ‘going round in circles’
evolution to a 1914-18Medley – It’s a Long Way to Tipperary/Goodbye Dolly Gray/Hello,
Hello, Who’s Your Lady Friend?/Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty.
We followed this with our Londoner Medley – Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner/All
My Life I Wanted to be a Barrow Boy/My Old Man Said Follow the Van before halting
to play Trumpet Tunes and The Jigs. After a good round of applause we marched off
to Sussex by the Sea and Medicine and Duty.
We subsequently learned from the ABF organisers that donations on the Sunday of our
performances exceeded the previous day’s. It’s good to think that our thoroughly
enjoyable family day had also helped the ABF in their mission ‘to give lifetime support
to serving and retired soldiers and their families’.