The TS Kelly band march again after 50 years apart.
Davy Hanson was the band master of the TS Kelly Hebburn Sea Cadets in the 1960s. He returned as a volunteer to the Hebburn Sea Cadets in 2010 to help the current band out. When Hebburn Sea Cadets were preparing to celebrate their 80th anniversary, they had an idea to get the old band back together to celebrate the occasion. Even after all the years that had passed since their initial founding, the idea was met with much enthusiasm by old band members.
Since 2014 the TS Kelly veteran band have continued to meet once every month to socialise and rehearse. Sadly, Davy Hanson passed away in 2018, but they still meet regularly to play together.
During our research into the lives of Sea Cadets Alumni, we had the privilege of interviewing the six members of the TS Kelly veteran band. We heard about their memorable adventures as cadets, and where life has taken them since.
They fondly recall their teenage years spending almost every day of the week involved in some kind of Sea Cadets activity. They sailed on the River Tyne and travelled all over the UK for competitions. They felt committed to each other and their success, beyond teamwork, it was a sense of being part of a family.
The community too became invested in the band's success for national competitions. For the Hebburn community, TS Kelly was rallied around by those on the south side of the River Tyne.
Today, the six men all say their career success can be traced back to their time in the Sea Cadets. It taught them to commit to doing a job well – to see things through to the end, even when unexpected challenges came their way. Life has taken these men on very different paths; they count working in the film industry, chemical engineering, teaching, being elected a local councillor, and serving in the Royal Navy, among their career paths. Across their different achievements, the men agree that the cadets was foundational in their adult lives. Not to mention how to properly present themselves ironed shirts and well-polished shoes.
When meeting Dave, Stephen, George, Les, Barry and Peter it is clear that their friendships are as strong as they were as cadets in the 1960s and the shared life experiences are only getting stronger with time. These men continue to understand and support each other all these years later.