Rex Needle: Campaign for bandstand goes online

An artist's impression of the proposed bandstand EMN-141206-092146001
An artist's impression of the proposed bandstand EMN-141206-092146001
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The petition launched to support the building of a Victorian-style bandstand in the War Memorial Gardens at Bourne has now gone online.

The appeal has been organised by Councillor Helen Powell who first suggested the project two years ago and has since secured financial backing to proceed once permission is granted by Bourne United Charities who administer the site on behalf of the town.

Over 400 signatures have aready been collected on the paper petition circulating around Bourne and the Internet edition is expected to give a tremendous boost in support.

The trustees have so far refused to approve the project but it is now hoped to provide sufficient evidence of public approval to persuade them to reconsider. The latest stage of the bandstand petition is expected to win much greater support and will therefore present an even more convincing case.

Brass bands have a long tradition in Bourne dating back to the early 19th century and Councillor Powell, a former mayor and a member of the county, district and town councils, claims that interest is just as intense today. “We have so many talented musicians both young and old that they deserve a public place to display their talents and it is up to us to encourage them all we can”, she said. “Such concerts would also be a welcome addition to the town’s cultural life.”

Last year, a new initiative was announced by local osteopath Jo Sunner, a keen instrumentalist who plays both the tuba and the trombone, who is currently forming a community brass band for Bourne. Ten musicians have already been recruited, both men and women, and are practising with the Salvation Army band which has a tradition of brass band music and has produced many fine players. “There is a strong following in the areas with brass bands in places like Peterborough, Stamford, Nassington, Spalding and Holbeach”, he said. “We are still trying to find more musicians but we will have a brass band in Bourne and we are already planning a few concerts for later this year.”

A fund that has been opened to finance the Bourne bandstand project already has almost half of the estimated cost of £25,000 to build the structure and there have also been offers of materials, services and assistance with the legal and planning procedures to help it come to fruition.

The War Memorial Gardens is the obvious place, said Councillor Powell, because the weeping willows along the banks of the Bourne Eau provide an ideal setting for open air concerts. She added: “This land is intended for the residents of this town as an amenity to enjoy and regular band performances in this pleasant open space would be an added attraction for the community.”

Band concerts organised by South Kesteven District Council are already held in the gardens on selected Sunday afternoons in summer but as there is no permanent place for visiting musicians who have to sit around the stone cenotaph. There have also been two successful bandstand marathons in Bourne, in 2008 and 2012, when hundreds of people turned out for the concerts although both would have been even more successful if the centrepiece of the events had actually been a bandstand.

“The case has become unassailable”, said Councillor Powell. “This form of open air entertainment is enjoying a tremendous revival around the country and there is sufficient support for it here in Bourne once the trustees agree to give it their backing. It would also bring much-needed additional business to the town centre because of the number of visitors that would be attracted. I am therefore asking everyone to sign the petition to help persuade the trustees that there is a real desire for our very own bandstand to be sited in the War Memorial Gardens which will be an added amenity for this town and an asset for the future.”

The new petition may be accessed online at http://ipt.io/rncp.