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Instrumental for 60 years

PUBLISHED: 17:11 22 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:38 23 August 2010

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Vera Bennett (right).

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Vera Bennett (right).

A MILITARY band is to stage a concert celebrating its principle clarinettist s 60th year with the group. Vera Bennett, of High Street, Northfleet, joined the Gravesend Borough Band aged 16 in 1949. She took up the clarinet shortly before joining and wa

A MILITARY band is to stage a concert celebrating its principle clarinettist's 60th year with the group.

Vera Bennett, of High Street, Northfleet, joined the Gravesend Borough Band aged 16 in 1949.

She took up the clarinet shortly before joining and was taught by her father who played in a variety of bands during the 1920s and 1930s. To celebrate the landmark achievement a special concert is planned at St George's Church, Church Street, Gravesend, at 7pm on Saturday.

Mrs Bennett said: "I was very keen to celebrate the long time I have been in the band but I also want to promote it to the town and remind them they have got a local band.

"It has just become a way of life, that's all I can say. When I started in 1949 I didn't think I would still be a member in 2009."

The band was formed in 1880 and meets on Thursday nights at the Ebbsfleet Rainbow Centre, Rose Street, Northfleet.

It has 28 members aged from from 14 to 79 and plays a variety of show tunes and other popular music. Band committee member Mike Wanstall added: "Many of us have been members for just a fraction of that time and it cannot go unnoticed to any of us that Vera's attendance, reliability and affection for the band never falters as the years progress.

"She is one of the very first to arrive at our Thursday evening practice and invariably one of the last to leave."

Tickets for the concert cost £6 or £5 for concessions. To book call 01474 351688 or e-mail gravesend

band@hotmail.com.

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