BIKES, BRASS BANDS AND BEST FRIENDS
By Ann Evans
If you’re in Shropshire this coming weekend, 9th-10th July, head along to the Ironbridge Gorge Museums for two spectacular events. Firstly the popular Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival takes place over the two days; and on the Saturday evening there’s also the the Queen Victoria Cyclo-Cross event – dubbed Britain’s craziest bike race.
The Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival begins at 10am on Saturday on The Green at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron. Now in its 13th year, the free family event showcases some of the finest brass bands from Shropshire and the surrounding counties. This year there will also be a special guest band from Germany giving the festival an international flavour. With some 20 bands performing, it’s the largest, non-competitive brass band festival in the country.
At least three bands will be appearing at the festival for the first time, while among the many others performing over the two days are the Abraham Darby Brass Band, Llangollen Silver Band, Black Country Brass Band, Shrewsbury Brass Band the Wellington (Telford) Brass Band and Salopian Brass. Performances begin at 10am on both days and continue until 5pm on Saturday and 6.30pm on Sunday. Bar drinks and light refreshments will be available to purchase.
A ticketed charity gala open-air concert in aid of the Severn Hospice, Brass Night of the Proms, will take place on Saturday evening, 9th July from 7.30pm. Compered by BBC Radio Shropshire presenter, Eric Smith, it will feature the Ifton Colliery Band and the Band of the Royal Signals; covered seating will be provided, or take a blanket and enjoy a picnic on the grass.
There also promises to be some excitement on Saturday evening over at Blists Hill Victorian Town when 300 of the UK’s top cyclists will be speeding through the recreated Victorian Streets on modern bikes. Blists Hill has teamed up with the organisers of Newport’s famous Nocturne Cycle Race for the fourth time. And there will be some touch challenges for the riders to tackle with fearsome inclines, steep declines, chicanes and single track sections as the cyclists weave around the historic buildings.
Gates open at 5.15pm and the first race will start at 6pm with the event finishing at approximately 9.30pm; spectators are welcome for just £3, payable at the gate; children under 16 will be free of charge and must be accompanied by an adult. Ironbridge Gorge Museum Passports are not valid for this evening and dogs will not be allowed.
FRIENDS OF IRONBRIDGE GORGE MUSEUM TRUST
The Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of nearly 50 years support for the independent Museum, which has national and international standing.
This is the highest award given to voluntary groups across the United Kingdom. Its aim is to recognize outstanding work done in the local community, and as such sets a national benchmark for excellence in volunteering. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.
The Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. A slightly higher number than last year, it shows that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.
Winners receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an engraved crystal, which were presented to the Friends by the Lord Lieutenant, Sir Algernon Heber-Percy.
The Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust was founded in 1968 to support the fledgling Museum. Delighted to have received the award Geraldine King, Chair, said; “I pay tribute to all the present and past Friends whose unstinting hard work has made this award possible. From the time of the first Museum Open Day in September 1969 there have always been Friends willing to give their time freely in support of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
“The Friends of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust richly deserve this honour. They have supported the Museum financially and in kind, with donations and physical and academic assistance since its inception.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis commented: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the very best of democracy in action.”
The Friends are currently fundraising for the Pit Head Gear at Blists Hill Victorian Town. Since they first supported it in 1973, the 40 years of exposure to the British weather has had a detrimental effect on the replica structure, and this year the Friends launched an appeal to raise £15,000 to
For further information on all the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and news please visit: www.ironbridge.org.uk.