Devon firefighters' band to play at Belgium Remembrance Day ceremony

PUBLISHED: 09:43 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 10 June 2010

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services ceremonial band will be spending Remembrance Day in Ypres, Belgium.

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services' ceremonial band will be spending Remembrance Day in Ypres, Belgium.

Every year the ceremonial band is given the privilege of leading the parade through the town of Ypres and is the only fire and rescue service ceremonial unit in the world allowed to play the Last Post and Reveille.

Because this year is the 90th anniversary of the end of First World War and chief fire officer Paul Young's last Ypres trip as chief of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, the band said the ceremony would be extra special.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Young said: "World War One is a crucial part of our history which affected everyone so remembering those who gave their lives is really important. It is such a credit to the band that they are given the privilege to play at such an important event.

"This will be my last trip to Ypres as chief fire officer and I feel truly honoured to have attended in previous years and taken part in the remembrance."

Joining Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service ceremonial unit and the chief are chairman of the Fire Authority, councillor Bernard Hughes and five other fire and rescue services ceremonial units - Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Ceremonial Unit Pipe Band, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Ceremonial Squad, Cornwall County Fire Brigade Colour Party and Band of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Fire Authority chairman Bernard Hughes said: "I go to support our ceremonial unit as their patron. It's such a worthwhile event as it's a way in which we can honour the millions of serviceman who gave their lives for our present day freedoms.

"We are always warmly welcomed by the people of Ypres and we play a prominent role in representing fire and rescue services from all over Britain and in the actual event itself."

The two-day Armistice Day commemorations at Ypres include a service of remembrance, an official parade with standards and bands, and a special Last Post ceremony at The Menin Gate Memorial. The commemorations have been held every year since 1928.

Drum Major Ian Washburn said: "Every year the event is full of emotion and I'm sure this year will be no exception. We will be proud to mark the event with colleagues from other fire and rescue services to remember the sacrifices that were made."

The band is currently looking for new members, particularly those who would have an interest in playing the side drum, flute or bagpipes.

Members do not have to be serving or retired firefighters.

Anyone who would like to learn to play or join the band should contact Drum Major Ian Washburn on 07967 720528.

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