Blaze-hit Kinneil Band will honour summer commitments

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Dedicated members of Kinneil Band still intend to play at Bo’ness Fair and Linlithgow Gala this month, despite losing their beloved practice hall and instruments in a huge fire.

The band hall, believed to be over 125 years old, was gutted after astroturf underlay was deliberately set on fire at Bo’ness United football stadium last Tuesday.

Devastated Kinneil Band musicians, some of whom have practiced in the hall for the last five decades, have spent the last week coming to terms with the loss of not just their base and instruments but their entire music library housed within it.

Other items also destroyed by the blaze were trophies, instruments and irreplaceable memorabilia, some dating back 160 years.

Structural engineers are currently assessing the building but band members have been informed demolition is likely.

Despite the tragedy, the band is determined to fulfil their community commitments at forthcoming marches and at the Bo’ness Fair on June 28 and Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Children’s Gala on June 22.

Band spokesman and Kinneil Youth Band coach Scott Gardner said: “We are obviously devastated – we lost all our drums as well as lots of tubas and xylophones as well as a lot of irreplaceable things such as trophies etc but we have to look to the future now and we want to keep all our community commitments and do everyone proud.

“We’ve been inundated with messages of support from local people and neighbouring bands who have let us borrow some of their instruments and equipment and have been practicing at Bo’ness Academy.

“Because of this we’ll be able to still play at our annual concert on Friday, June 14 at Bo’ness Town Hall.

“The council have also been in touch to try to help us find a new hall and we are looking at some industrial units at the moment and other venues so I’m sure we’ll find somewhere suitable soon.”

Scott said he would like to thank everyone who has donated to the Just Giving page set up by the band.

“We initially only hoped to raise maybe £5000 but folk have been so generous that it’s now sitting at almost £14,000 which is just amazing and everyone at Kinneil Band is so, so grateful for all contributions. It’s amazing the way the community has rallied round.”

The band are holding their annual fundraising night in Kinneil Bowling Club on Saturday, June 22 at 7.30pm and are inviting everyone in the community to come along.

Scott said: “Obviously it will be an important night than ever before because of what has happened and we’re hoping to get as much support as possible.

“It’s my wife Alyson that organises it and she managed to secure the bowling club and has already got a DJ, catering and some great raffle prizes so it’s shaping up to be a great night.

Anyone who would like to purchase tickets for the fundraiser can contact Alyson on 07468458755.

Donations can also still be made to the Kinneil Band’s Just Giving page by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/supportkinneilband