Army band hit the right notes

The Salvation Army playing in the Arc in Bury.    Wendy and Ralph Chambers.
The Salvation Army playing in the Arc in Bury. Wendy and Ralph Chambers.
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MUSIC filled the arc shopping centre on Saturday as the Salvation Army Household Troops Band marked 125 years of of help for Bury St Edmunds’ needy.

The 30-strong band took centre stage in front of The Apex to entertain the crowds for around an hour in the afternoon.

The Salvation Army playing in the Arc in Bury.

The Salvation Army playing in the Arc in Bury.

The performance marked 125 years of the Bury corps of the Salvation Army forming in Bury.

After regaling the crowd with a range of tunes, including Amazing Grace, the band made its way to the Salvation Army Corps building in St John’s Street.

Ralph Chambers, commanding officer of the Bury corps, said it was a coup to have the band in the town.

“They’ve come from all over the country and we are lucky to have them here.

General Bramwell Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, in Bury St Edmunds in 1923.

General Bramwell Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, in Bury St Edmunds in 1923.

“Today is a celebration of our beliefs and what the Army is known for,” he said.

Major Chambers said the Salvation Army’s work in the town was essential for those less fortunate – but that demand was changing in the current economic climate.

“The branch here was founded in the part of the town which was in the greatest need and that’s how it’s always been.

“In the last 18 months we have had more young people and those in work than in the past.

The Salvation Army's 1964 line-up.

The Salvation Army's 1964 line-up.

“We are a church before anything else but we are the largest private provider of social care in the country,” he said.

Luncheons, emergency food parcels and groups for mothers and young children are all part of the Salvation Army’s care provision output in Bury.

The day also made a fitting swansong for Major Chambers, who has worked with the Salvation Army in Bury for four years with his wife, Wendy, as he retires this year.

He said: “Before I joined I wanted to be part of a church that did what it said on the label and that’s wha the Salvation Army does.”

The Salvation Army's choir - 'The Songster' - from 1932.

The Salvation Army's choir - 'The Songster' - from 1932.

The Salvation Army Household Troops Band also performed at The Apex on Saturday evening.

The Salvation Army Band's 1919 line-up.

The Salvation Army Band's 1919 line-up.