Posted: 14.09.20 at 07:34 by Nick Hudson
ATHERSTONE band leader Brendan Matthewson proved that time really is money when he shed a “hairy monster” image that’s been part of a new look since before lockdown.
The 53-year-old brass caption head wanted to celebrate the Phantom Knights being back together with a “return-to-normal” party when current restrictions permit.
So after allowing his follicles to spread all over his face and head in the last six months of the pandemic, he organised a sponsored shave to rid himself of his unruly mop that resembled something of a shaggy-haired ‘old salt’.
The ex-Royal Navy veteran of Northern Ireland and Iraq tours of duty told Nub News: “It was the chance to kill two birds with one pair of clippers – lose the hair, which I’m not used to, and raise some much-needed funds for the youngsters in the band who deserve a treat after being apart from their friends for nearly six months.”
The band – proud British champions – have just started practicing again at Stoneleigh Glebe Farm on the Atherstone Road, Hartshill and the section head took time out to “do aweigh” with his lockdown locks.
Clippers and a pair of scissors briefly drowned out the musical background as freelance stylist Joanne Forsyth, from Clare’s Hair and Beauty in Station Street, Atherstone, set to work giving Brendan the shortest ‘short, back and sides’ he’s ever experienced.
It took nearly eight-and-a-half minutes to reduce the mop and after the last clump of hair had fallen to the floor, the self-employed dedicated courier driver bolted from the chair shouting “I’m free.” You can see how it happened in the video accompanying this article.
Stroking his hairless head, he told Nub News that he had now been pledged £500 – the equivalent of £1 for every second of the sponsored “torture”.
Brendan, who after his Armed Forces career ended spent 11 years in Holland finishing as a gardener at NATO headquarters, said he didn’t know when the party would be able to take place but “something to look forward to” in the future.
Although the band are now back practising – at staggered times on Sundays from 10am to 1.30pm – corps director Carl Harris accepts that Covid-19 has forced the American-style marching band to have to “diversify in what we offer the youngsters, if we are to survive”.
He admits that if the band is unable to get into schools over the autmn and winter, as they normally do, then it will be staring at “how we can continue”.
Officially launched in October 1996, the membership lives mainly in the Atherstone and surrounding areas but due to the Corps’ popularity, members and instructors have travelled from all over the UK to be part of the Phantom Knights.
Originally based in Nuneaton, during 2010 the organisation relocated its base into Atherstone following lots of support from the town’s local community, council, and schools.
The corps is made up of a marching brass line, marching percussion, static tuned percussion and the colour guard.
Each section is supported by our experienced instructors, who Brityish Youth Band Association rules.