The Band

Official records show that Watton has had a band for over a century and one may well have been; in existence long before then as there is mention of a band playing at various functions in the town from the early 1700's, but it does not state if it was a Watton band, or one visiting the town.

In 1890 it was known as "The Volunteer Band", but before the turn of the century it became the Watton Town Band and as such won its first band competitions. By the early 1930's it became the Watton British Legion Band for about twenty years when it again changed to its present title of Watton and District Band. In April 1950 there was great jubilation when they won their first ever major prize, the Class 'C' Contest at the East Anglian Brass Band Association Festival, also the Reepham and the Sir Thomas Cook Challenge Cups. More success followed in 1955 by winning the Class 'B' Contest.

Their greatest achievements however were in 1966, 1969 and 1976 when they won the Class 'A' Contests at the East Anglian Brass Band Association Festivals thus gaining entrance into the Cham­ pionship Section. Since gaining their first major contest the band has secured many engagements all over the county including Great Yarmouth, Hunstanton and in the Norwich Parks. For several years there were five members of one family in the band. Jimmy Woods and his sons, Victor, George, Alien and Cyril, while another son Harold, played in a local Dance Band.

Since those great years many of the older members have retired, but several young bandsmen are now coming along nicely under the tuition of John Whalebelly who is always on the look out for keen musicians to join them.

Watton Town Band about 1902
From left in back row: W. Garner, 8th from left in back row: J. Woods, Centre sitting: E. Jessup, Sitting on mat: G. Toombs.

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