On Friday May 16th the lady members of The Marple Band “heaved to” for a sponsored boat pull to raise much-needed funds to send the band to the National Brass Band finals in Cheltenham.
The aim for this event was to “drag in” over £1,000 by all the band members gaining sponsorship and making donations then heaving The Bell, a 72ft steel narrow boat operated from The Ring O’ Bells pub near top lock in Marple.
The ladies of the band, who formed the powerhouse and wearing Navy costumes, had to dig their heels in to get The Bell moving. The hearty crew were Mary Pollock, Nicola Rathburn, Jayne Stephenson, Charlotte Bradwell, Caroline Andrews and Louisa Clark. Inside the boat was a band of pirates who played rousing nautical tunes as the women heaved away. A regular beat was provided by the band’s drummer, Mark Gregory, to keep the women and the band pulling together.
The big heave started at Bridge No. 1 on the Macclesfield canal, pulling The Bell, weighing in at 20 tons, past the pub and negotiating the Turnover bridge, where the tow-path swaps sides. It was then hauled to the winding hole at Waterside, to turn around, and back again while Captain Jack Sparrow (Bass player Paul Beetham) took the helm to help avoid collisions.
Mark (Able Seaman) Singleton of the Ring O’ Bells, owner of the Bell and principal Trombonist in The Marple Band floated the idea and launched the event.
The much-needed cash is to be used to help fund the band’s trip to attend the national band finals in Cheltenham in September, for which they qualified after achieving an amazing 2nd place at the regional qualifying contest in Blackpool in March: a fantastic result after only being promoted to the 2nd section in January this year.