FROM humble beginnings the 'Music, Marching & Friendship' is still going - 40 years on.

According to Carl Nelson, assistant band master of the Spen Valley Scout Band, the band was formed during a scout meeting in 1977 when one of the original founders - Maurice Kitchen - brought an old rope bass drum and pig skin purchased from a jumble sale.

Members Neil Ellis and Andrew Kitchen strapped on snare drums with belts and Maurice invited Bob Pickles from the Dewsbury Pipe Band to teach some marching with a bass drum and two snares. After approaching fellow founder, Brian Ellis, the 9th Spen Valley Scout Band was formed.

Trumpet players Anthony Ellis and Richard Durrans were the original members, with many more joining the ranks over the years, including Guides, prompting the name change to the 9th Spen Valley Scout & Guide Band.

Carl recalls at that time there were 24 Scout and Guide bands in West Yorkshire and for many members being part of the band has been a real family affair. Carl and his wife, bandmaster Joanna, met through the band.

Says Joanna: "I have been in the band for 33 years and have had some amazing experiences, made some fantastic friends and even met my husband!"

"For the last 15 years I have been bandmaster to an amazing bunch of people. I feel privileged to be able to call them my friends.

"And, just maybe, some of us will be here in another 40 years to celebrate another milestone of Music, Marching & Friendship."

It was during David Durrans' tenure as bandmaster in 1981 that the 9th Spen Valley Scout and Guide Band became a district band with a new name - The Spen Valley Scout & Guide Band.

Over the years members have competed in prestigious events and competitions. In 1999 the band made its debut at the Birmingham International Tattoo as part of the National Youth Marching Band.

The millennium brought the opportunity for six members to perform in The World Association of Marching Show Bands in Canada with the United Scout & Guide Bands of Greater Manchester

In 2002, the year Joanna became bandmaster, the band performed at Disneyland Paris in the Disney Parade.

Other highlights include performing at 'The White House' in Gilwell Park for the then Chief Scout, Blue Peter presenter, Peter Duncan.

The band also performed as part of the mass Scout & Guide Band at the European Jamboree, Eurojam held in Essex in 2005, in the World Scout Jamboree in 2007 and members rubbed shoulders with Royalty when they performed at the St George's Parade, Windsor celebrating the work of the recipients of the Chief Scout award.

Members have participated in the London Lord Mayor's parade, spent a day with HM Royal Marines at their School of Music in Portsmouth and in 2016 they played at the unveiling of The Scout Memorial Project at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The band's recent 40th anniversary celebrations, held at St Luke's Church, Cleckheaton, prompted some of the band's former members - who hadn't played in the intervening years - to pick up their instruments once again for a reunion concert involving past and present players.