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2004 West of England Regional Championships

4BR casts it eye over the runners and rider of the West of England Regional Championships, which takes place on the 27th and 28th March.

Riviera International Centre, Torquay

Saturday 27th March
Sections: 2,4 and 1

Sunday 28th March
Section 3 followed by Championship Section

For further information, please contact:
Brian Elliott – Tel: 01752 892056

The madcap scramble that is the Regional Championships of Great Britain comes to an end this weekend with the last of the Regional contest here in Torquay.

The West of England has become the traditional “closer” for the contests as far back as anyone can remember, although this year the competition takes place in March, and not April and even late May has it has done in the past. It may seem that in banding terms the West of England is out on a limb, but it is still a fine contesting weekend, very well run and fought out with a real sense of regional identity.

The contest has also found a very nice home in Torquay, at the Riviera International Centre, and although it may not have the muggy intimacy of the old Colston Hall in Bristol, it does offer fine facilities, decent car parking (although you have to be quick to get a space at the Hall), and usually, fine weather.

In contesting terms, the West may not quite be the best in the country, but there has been a real renaissance over the past few years, especially in the Youth banding scene. This can only be good for banding as a whole here, although we do hope that not too much of the talent is drained away – Cornwall in particular is still a very economically depressed area in places.

The number of bands competing here has remained pretty constant over the years – there are 81 bands down to compete this time, as compared to 84 in 2002. There were 102 here in 1986, but that was something of a very odd year. The good news is that the lower sections in particular are well over subscribed with bands from the tip of Cornwall right across to the Isle of Wight and up to the Forest of Dean and as always there are more Saints on view than can be found in a Vatican rugby team.

Success wise, 2003 wasn’t the greatest year at the Championship level and the usual successes at the Lower Section Finals of 2002 were not quite repeated – although there were strong showings in nearly all the sections.

The West of England it seems is an area with a great tradition of brass banding – there are great contests at Yeovil and Bugle every year and local contests are well attended. It seems that the time is ripe for that enthusiasm and obvious talent to be recognised with further success at the National level.

Number of competing bands:

2003: 82
2002: 84
2001: 80
2000: 83
1999: 88
1998: 82
1997: 84
1996: N/K
1995: N/K

Other Years:

1990: 76
1989: 74
1987: 74
1986: 102
1985: 77
1983: 68

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