NI marching band proud of former member’s royal duty

A marching flute band from Northern Ireland was filled with pride when one of its former members played a role in Prince Philip’s funeral.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 3:20 pm
The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin is carried into St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle as The Band and Bugles of The Rifles played led by Captain Justin Teggarty. Picture by PA

Captain Justin Teggarty directed the band playing outside St George’s Chapel last month as the Duke of Edinburgh arrived for the final time.

He had been a member of Kilkeel band – Pride of Ballinran – which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, before leaving to join the Army as a young man.

Conductor of the band, Nigel Edgar, said: “We presented him with a gold watch in 1995 when he left to go to the Welsh Guards.

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Pride of Ballinran at The Belfast Tattoo

“He was playing flute and tuba at the time in the band and in his school band. He was a great player though because he was so unassuming it’s come as a bit of a surprise how high up he’s gone.

“He went right to the top that fella.”

Captain Teggarty was made director of music with The Band and Bugles of The Rifles after completing two years as Deputy Chief Instructor at The Royal Military School of Music.

He had previously been with The Band of The Parachute Regiment and that of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, having started out with Welsh Guards.

Nigel said: “He’s been back at a couple of our events, though he’s never played with us again. He said if he moved back home he’d join us again so we’ll hold him to that.”

Commenting under a Facebook post shared by Pride of Ballinran, drawing attention to Captain Teggarty’s role at Prince Philip’s funeral, he wrote: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for your very kind comments. I joined the Army 25 years ago and today was one of my most proudest moments.

“To conduct the National Anthem for the funeral of HRH will live with me forever. I will never forget the fact that my path in music started in Kilkeel.”

Meanwhile Captain Teggarty’s old band returned to practice for the first time this week since their activities were shut down by Covid.

Nigel said: “We’ve adhered to all the regulations. It was just great to be back. It was a wee bit chilly because we were outside.”

The band has nearly 50 members and last year, to mark it’s 40th anniversary, Pride of Ballinran produced a CD entitled Here’s To The Heroes.

Nigel, who is from Kilkeel but now lives in Saintfield, is also involved with The Belfast Tattoo, where he helps with some of the musical arrangements.

The event is due to return to the SSE Arena in September.

He said: “It’s the first event that’s earmarked for the SSE Arena if everything goes according to plan.”

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