Unexpected finale to Petworth Town Band’s first overseas tour

Petworth Town Band playing on the seafront at St Aubin-Sur-Mer
Petworth Town Band playing on the seafront at St Aubin-Sur-Mer

There was unexpected drama at the end of Petworth Town Band’s first overseas tour when three illegal immigrants were discovered under their coach as they waited to board their ferry at Calais.

Band chairman John Sheridan told the Observer; “There was a long queue and we were joking that we might miss our ferry. Our turn came and UK Border Force officers came over with a sniffer dog which got very excited and they found three young men hidden underneath the coach in a void over the axle. They were detained by the French authorities.

“It is thought they crept under the coach at the last place we stopped which had been one and a half hours back at a motorway service station.”

It meant the 32 strong band and its supporters missed their ferry, but eventually made it back to Petworth by midnight on Sunday, August 6

The band had been based in Caen for four days presenting three concerts including two on the seafront at Arromanches-les-Bains and St Aubin-sur-Mer, two of the Normandy towns liberated by British, America, Canadian and other allied forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

“At Arromanches we enjoyed a guided tour of the D-Day Museum and we also enjoyed mornings in Honfleur and Bayeux and were privileged to present another concert at the renowned Pegasus Bridge Museum, close to Ranville, the first town in France liberated in the early hours of June 6,” said Mr Sheridan.

Petworth has twinned with Ranville since 1989 and band members and supporters, including Janet Duncton, chairman of the Petworth Twinning Association were given a civic reception at the town hall, hosted by the Mayor of Ranville and the chairman and members of the Ranville Twinning Association.

“Our first overseas tour led by bandmaster, Martyn Streeter and musical director. Paula Streeter, was deemed a great success,” Mr Sheridan said, “and members are already thinking about another – perhaps in 2019.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.midhurstandpetworth.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MidhurstandPetworthObserver

3) Follow us on Twitter @mid_pet_obs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Midhurst and Petworth Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.