Horsham school band broadcast live on the BBC at Lord Mayor’s Show

Christ's Hospital band at the Lord Mayor's Show
Christ's Hospital band at the Lord Mayor's Show

A Horsham school band made its 38th appearance at the Lord Mayor’s Show in London earlier this month in a performance that was broadcast live by the BBC.

The 100-strong band played its signature piece and school march, ‘Sussex by the Sea’, while marching past the Cenotaph.

The young musicians were 111th in the running order of 143 participants, and their performance was accompanied by a commentary on the ensemble.

Band captain Murray Dare, a year-13 student, has been marching in the show for the last four years.

He said: “My parents have been marching in bands at the Lord Mayor’s for many years. Between the three of us we notch up 70 years.

“In fact, it was when my mum spoke to the Christ’s Hospital band at the Lord Mayor’s Show in the 1980s that she decided she would like any future children she had to go to the school.”

It was in 1981 that the school first attended the show, and since then have been invited back to participate every year.

The band itself dates back to the 19th century, when some of the pupils requested instruments to enliven their marching drill. The school’s treasurer agreed and with his own money purchased a few instruments and paid the salary of the first band master.

The band is now directed by band master Terry Whittingham, former band master of the Grenadier Guards and the Queen’s Own Highlanders.

The group accompanies the daily march into the dining hall at lunchtime, known as the ‘Band Parade’, a Christ’s Hospital tradition.

The school was founded in 1552 in London by the young King Edward VI in response to a sermon on the needs of the city’s poor, through the generous funding of the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Richard Dobbs. The school moved to Horsham in 1902 and today three-quarters of its pupils receive bursaries or scholarships.

Four former students from Christ’s Hospital have been the Lord Mayor of London, the most recent being Sir Richard Nichols in 1997.