Early on Saturday the 11th of November, as the residents of Syston slept sound in their beds, members of the 10th Leicester 1st Syston Scout & Guide Band were awake and excited to be on their way to London to take part in the world’s oldest and grandest civic procession.
For over 800 years the newly elected Lord Mayor of the City of London has made his or her way from the City to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear loyalty to the Crown. Over the centuries this journey grew into the riotous medieval pageant known to all today as The Lord Mayor’s Show. For the last 20 years, Syston’s own Scout & Guide Band has taken part and paraded as part of the Corps of Drums Society, a society formed in 1977 with the aim of preserving the drum, fife and bugle traditions of the British Army.
Leaving Syston at 5.00am on the dot, it wasn’t long before some members were fast asleep on the bus on the way down to our capital city.
However, stopping off at London Gateway service station to change into uniform is certainly where the excitement and adrenalin of what was about to happen started to kick in.
Getting into London at 8.30am we had to be formed up as a band at the Smithfield Rotunda Garden for 9.00am where we’d have a quick briefing of how the day was going to pan out.
Then, most importantly, it was time for tea and sticky buns.
The procession of three miles long, which was broadcast live on BBC1, kicked off at 11.03am after a two minutes silence was observed in remembrance for Armistice Day.
It was then all systems go as the 7000 participants involved in the procession marched, danced, cart wheeled and rode on floats along the parade route.
At some points the streets were lined 10 deep with spectators all waving their union flags, cheering, clapping and even singing along with our popular medley of 1914-1918 war tunes.
Chris Bodycot, long serving member of the Syston Scout and Guide Band and Drum Major for the Corps of Drums on Parade said,
“Once again, it has been an absolute privilege to be part of such a prestigious event, marching through the streets of London alongside other bands and members of the Society including ex Coldstream Guards. A special honour for me this year to give the Drum Majors salute to the newly elected Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, as we marched past the Mansion House.”