What is the connection with brass bands and breast cancer?
The answer is Boobs and Brass an all-girl brass band who came together in May 2006 for a one-off fund raising concert.
Well the one-off concert turned into 12 years of music making and fund raising and to date some £241,892 has been raised for charity – of which £206,900 has been donated to Breast Cancer Now.
My first encounter with the pink ladies was at Butlins in January 2010. Every January Skegness Butlins is “invaded” by brass bands. This time Boobs and Brass had a mass “Boob Blow” and some 370 players played together to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. My daughter, then 9, was I think one of the youngest playing that day and I also played cornet that day. I started playing with them on percussion in 2016 whilst I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The band’s fabulous organisers Jane and Maggie have accepted numerous awards over the years for their fundraising including in 2009 an “Outstanding Achievement” award by Breast Cancer Campaign (now Breast Cancer Now), in 2017 the BBC Music Day Brass Band Award and this year the Northamptonshire Community Award Charity Champion Award.
Unfortunately the band may cease after a couple of final concerts – as you can imagine organising something like this takes over your life. So on Saturday 13 October some 70+ of us ladies will be performing at Lincoln Cathedral and trying to get to that £250,000 donation target. We will also be honouring the NHS in their 70th anniversary year and joining us will be the Lincolnshire Hospitals Band.
Before anyone asks, yes we know that men get breast cancer too and for this concert we have a male conductor. We have also had male guest players in the past.