West Swindon based Bluebelle Majorettes are keen to make contact with the hundreds of young people who have marched and played instruments with them since they first started in 2001 to invite them to a tenth anniversary party
Thanks to Chartridge Conference Company Bluebelles are holding their party and disco on Friday 24 February, 7.30pm at Lydiard House Conference Centre.
Bluebelle leader Christine Doyle said she brought the first group of girls together in late 2000 to start practising for the first display which was the Queen’s Jubilee celebration in Covingham in June 2001. "Over the last ten years we estimate about 200 children have been part of Bluebelles and we’d like to bring them together."
In the last ten years Bluebelles have appeared at a host of Swindon events like the Old Town Festival, as well as travelling to the Yeovilton Air Show and the Royal Bath and West Show, and won a bronze medal in European Marching Band championships in Bath. In Spring 2011 the troupe performed in the early rounds of Britain’s Got Talent in Cardiff.
Top picture, Christine Doyle with Lydiard House Conference Centre manager Ashwin Roda, and from left, Rachel Chalcraft, Kayleigh Gardiner, Rebecca Chalcraft, Olivia Fearon, Lorrelle Gardiner, Jazmin Fearon, Bethany Dimino
Christine performed for 10 years with Penhill Swans Majorettes, which included fellow Bluebelles trainer Julie Dean. Band tutor Clare Harwood was a member of the Emlyns who trained in Swindon town centre. "Majorettes are such a fantastic way for girls to get together and contribute to their community," said Christine. "They learn social skills, discipline and develop musical talent as part of a team – as well as have fun."
Mum Vanessa Chalcraft believes majorettes act like a family for its members. "The girls get a strong sense of identity and a sense of belonging to a useful activity outside school. What’s good about Bluebelles its that its not just marching and practising. There’s a lot of education going on like first aid or instruction on what to do in an emergency."
Majorette Olivia Fearon said she likes visiting different places. "I like having something to do after school and at weekends when we travel to shows. You get to see lots of places and do things when we’re not marching."
For Kayleigh Gardiner gaining badges to display on the sash over her lilac and white uniform is an attraction. "It’s good when we win trophies in competitions and we also get medals to show wear on our sash. It makes us want to train harder to put on a good show."
Bluebelle Majorettes are on a major recruitment drive to attract more girls interested in waving pom-poms and learning to play the drums and bell-lyre. Christine explained: "Our numbers are a bit down so this year we decided not to take on many events and concentrate on educational activities. Apart from first aid training, the girls learn how to administer CPR, and we’re looking at a range of useful training courses and visits to places like the Sikh temple to learn more about the Swindon community. During the year we’ll be working out new routines with new members so we’re ready to relaunch in 2013.
"We’d love to see as many past members as possible on Saturday 24 February. We’ll have a display of photographs from past shows and will be giving out awards to girls who have made the biggest impression over the last 10 years. There will be nibbles, soft drinks and a disco. The cost on the door is £2."
To let know Christine know that you’re attending, mail her: firstname.lastname@example.org
She would also welcome contact with anybody willing to sponsor the evening and also Bluebelle Majorettes throughout the year.