Sunday: Windsor Castle
The day kick started with a full four star hotel breakfast. No time to dwell on what the day would hold as we were whisked back up the five flights of stairs to the top of Bracknell’s multi story for a brisk 9am rehearsal.
A buzz of excitement rose when we were sent to change into our brand new scout uniforms and gather our belongings as we would not be returning. This was it.
As we approached the grandeur of the castle itself, the coach ground to a halt. We continued our short journey on foot the reason for the emer- gency stop came more apparent. Parading towards us came the Scots Guards, their striking red jackets marching towards us. Each step in unison.
The enormity and expectation of the day had finally hit us.
We presented our special red cards that allowed us admittance to the event and set up base in the ground’s vacated stables.
As more and more Scout leaders and offi- cials crowded the courtyard, we got a sudden shout to clear the way. We made a dash to get out of the path.
We couldn’t believe what happened next. Who came past? None other than the Duke of Edinburgh driving his horse and cart. We felt so lucky, but only minutes later he came past again in his fancy BMW.
The band was called to form up as the clocks neared 1. All those hours of preparation came down to this.
Michael brought us to attention. “By the centre quick march” We were off.
Everything was going brilliantly. We had reached the narrow archway where we all squeezed through,
just about, and entered the splendour of the quadrangle of Windsor Castle. What a sight to behold.
No time to gander or gawp, as we were paraded straight onto the luscious, harlequin grass.
It was like standing on a cloud, almost soft enough for you to stop in your tracks just to enjoy the luxury. But the band marched on. ‘Montreal Citadel’, ‘Water of Tyne’, ‘Joy’, ‘Peace and Happiness’. Far too quickly we were marching back through the narrow archway back towards the sta- bles.
Just before the clock struck 2, Michael paraded us back into the quadrangle but this time accompanied by the Scots Guards. On the strike of 2, the National Anthem was played – by the Guards’ band – and out came Prince Michael of Kent with Bear Grylls to speak to all the Queen’s Scouts.
While this was taking place, ourselves and the Scots Guards played alternately. ‘Toccata’, ‘All Night Long’ and a John Williams’ medley fea- tured in the short set.
The whole parade, lead by us, made its way down to St George’s Chapel in the grounds, where we took our seats in the Knights of the Garter.
We all sat there in awe, admiring the magnificent gothic architecture as the service commenced.
A sudden hum of excitement washed through the band as only a few metres away stood Bear and the Prince with their entourage of officials. The Prince kept very official whereas Bear gave us a cheeky thumbs up.
As the final hymn was sung, we reformed outside the impressive chapel.
After a short speech from Mr Grylls, we led the parade back to the stables and it was all over.
Months, weeks, hours of hard work had paid off and we’d done ourselves mighty proud. As we boarded the coach for the final time, everyone agreed on what an amazing weekend that was had and how proud we were to be the 2nd Rossendale Scout Group Band.