Family affair as band strikes up for London Olympics

Spalding Marching Ambassadors off to London 2012 are (from left) Catherine Bright, Annabel Newell, Carol Felts, Tristan Bright and bandmaster Jim Bright. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN): SG080212-350NG
Spalding Marching Ambassadors off to London 2012 are (from left) Catherine Bright, Annabel Newell, Carol Felts, Tristan Bright and bandmaster Jim Bright. Photo (NIKKI GRIFFIN): SG080212-350NG
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THREE generations of a Spalding family will appear in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London.

Spalding Marching Ambassadors bandmaster Jim Bright (69), his daughter Catherine Bright (46) and grandson Tristan Bright (23) will be joined by fellow band members Annabel Newell and Carol Felts.

For the ‘famous five’ it will be the biggest gig of their lifetimes with 80,000 spectators in the Olympic Stadium and an estimated worldwide TV audience of more than four billion.

The Ambassadors had two auditions in London film studios and from May they will begin a series of 30 rehearsals in the run-up to the July 27 opening ceremony.

Jim said the games organisers originally asked for 10,000 people to come forward, but he has no idea how many will actually be involved in the ceremonies because everything is shrouded in secrecy.

The Ambassadors assume they will play percussion instruments but even that is a secret for now.

Jim has been with the band for about 32 years and is delighted to have been chosen, but says his one disappointment is that some members are under 18 and too young to apply.

The semi-retired lorry driver said: “For three members of one family to be selected is quite an achievement and I am quite proud, not so much for myself as I am for my daughter and grandson.”

Tristan, a duty manager for Marks and Spencer at Springfields, has been playing instruments since he could walk, starting off with a plastic trumpet.

He failed to get a ticket to the games but has no regrets.

Tristan says: “You can’t get a better ‘seat’ than being in the middle of the stadium. I think I have got the best ticket.”

Catherine said: “It still hasn’t totally sunk in yet. It probably won’t until I walk out in that arena on the day.”

l Spalding Marching Ambassadors will drum the Olympic flame through Spalding on July 4.

They are now busy fundraising to help pay the cost of attending games rehearsals as well as appealing for new members.

Anyone interested in joining can contact Mr Bright on 01775 723087. Band rehearsals are held on Wednesday nights at the United Reformed Church Hall in Pincbeck Road, Spalding.