Gislingham Silver Band
Our Greatest Benefactor

One person who was the backbone of Gislingham Silver Band for over seventy years was Cecil Carter – a local farmer. Without Cecil’s generosity, perseverance, tenacity and determination the band would have folded on several occasions.

Cecil joined the Gislingham Brass Band in 1929 at the age of 16 because there was nothing to do in the village of an evening and he was keen on Lily Ruffles whose father, Joseph, and her brother ‘Puffer’, were both members of the village brass band.

Cecil was earning ten shillings a week and he saved up three pounds and ten shillings to buy his first trombone, by mail order, from Boosey and Hawkes of London. Nobody else in the Band had ever played a trombone so he had to teach himself to play.

In 1932, at the age of 19, Cecil became the band secretary – a post he was to hold for nearly seventy years!

Cecil (3rd left) and Reg Pollintine being presented with cups, in 1983, for their loyal service to the band by the junior members.

Cecil Carter was in West Suffolk Hospital for his 90th birthday. The band was given permission to play on the ward for him. Unfortunately he did not return home and died on the 25th May 2003.

Cecil summed up the band's history:

"Over the years we have never been too ambitious. We have never entered the world of band competitions, but have achieved a great sense of satisfaction serving our village by enjoying what we play in the company of like-minded people. Our small Band Room too has been a great asset and our charges have remained realistic. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we are still in existence."

Anyone interested in social history would enjoy the book 'Cecil Carter and The Gislingham Silver Band' that details Cecils life and how he managed to keep the Gislingham Silver Band going. Copies of the book are available from Peter Lucas for £12.95. (plus p&p)

Contact the secretary Peter Lucas on 01379 788411

or by email: