New book looks at history of Pride of the Bann

Pictured at the Pride of The Band book, Then Now and Forever, launch are Adrian Eakin, Darren Dixon, Stephen McNeill, and William Robertson. INCR41-101MJ
Pictured at the Pride of The Band book, Then Now and Forever, launch are Adrian Eakin, Darren Dixon, Stephen McNeill, and William Robertson. INCR41-101MJ

The stories and the faces behind one of Coleraine’s most successful bands is being celebrated in a new book.

‘Then, Now and Forever’ documents the formation and history of Pride of the Bann, a well known Coleraine band that was established in 1977.

The book was published through funding from the International Fund for Ireland from its Peace Impact Project and CRUN.

Speaking to The Coleraine Times this week, band member and committee member Darren Dickson said that the idea for the book came about two years ago.

“We thought that we wanted to give people an insight into what the band is about.

“So many bands get negative publicity, and we wanted to change that view and show people the family side of the band. Generations have been involved in the band, fathers and sons, brothers and uncles, we all have the same values and beliefs. So, we got together and decided to document the band through the book. We then asked for people’s pictures and memories, and we got some great stuff.”

The band was formed in 1977 in the old Bertie’s Bar by William McIntyre, Lexie Clyde, John Cauley, Terry Freeman, Mervyn Standfield, Roger Dunlop, Russell Gilmour and John Gault. Starting off with 43 flutes and six drums, the band membership was drawn from the estates of Millburn, Harpur’s Hill, Ballysally and the Heights.

Through the book we find out about the band’s first uniforms - a royal blue jumper, knitted by lady from Portrush called Eva Millen and then finished by Sally Cummins and Martha Kearney. That uniform also included dickie bows and blue berets. And to the present day, we learn of ‘The Auld Boys’ band, formed in 2012, to mark the 35th anniversary of the band, they now parade behind one of the men who has been a focal point for the band - John Cauley, and there’s a special tribute to John in the book. Copies, priced at £10, are available from the Darren Dixon, or via the band’s facebook page.