From a Parent

In February 2006 my son was 12 and was finding it hard to settle into his new school.

Many of his primary school friends had moved on and he had lost contact with them and he wasn’t socialising with his peers. He had been diagnosed with adolescent depression and was struggling with life in general.

We saw a piece in the local paper about an event the band had played at and I called Mark and had a chat. We decided to drop into a training session the band was holding the following week and that evening changed our lives. We were immediately made to feel welcome and everyone was so friendly.

By the end of that first evening my son had been included to the extent that he was already playing the symbols and had signed up to play in the upcoming events for the whole Summer.

We both became part of a “family” that evening, a relationship that has flourished and has offered us so much.

My son stopped playing in the band when the demand of exams took over. He is now a confident young man who has a part time job and is studying at University with loads of friends and a great life. The band was the turning point in his life and I will be forever grateful to Mark Saunders and everyone who helped out  for letting us be part of such a fantastic band.    

From a Former Band Member

I joined the band in my first year of secondary school and, quite frankly, I don’t know where I would have been without it. I had a hard time settling into secondary school, I had no self-confidence and, to be perfectly honest, I suffered from depression.

That all changed, however, when I joined the band. I learned to respect myself once again and I was able to socialise with people my age, whereas before I was paralysed with fear at the thought of entering a classroom of friends.

This band saved me; I truly believe that I would not be the person that I am today without being a member of not just a band, or a community, but a wonderful and welcoming family.

I cannot thank Mark and the people who help with the band enough for not only providing fantastic opportunities for children and young people, but enriching their lives as well.   

From a Parent

My son is the type of child that doesn't follow the crowd and isn't interested in after school clubs or sports and was being left behind socially by his peers and then sadly was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2010 when he was 8 years old. 

I found this quite a struggle and it hit his confidence really hard. He became quite withdrawn and only wanted to stay at home. He struggled with doing his injections outside of home and didn't feel confident enough to even tell his friends that he was diabetic. 

It was then that I had remembered watching The Sandhurst Corps of Drums perform at The Donkey Derby a year earlier and remembered how he had showed a real interest in them.  I called Mark Saunders and he suggested we pop in and watch the band train.  That was 4 years ago and we have barely missed a training day or event since!

He has grown in confidence and has made some fantastic friendships and has made me the proudest mummy in the world on several occasions! I then took the opportunity to join up my youngest son when he was 8 years old and although he was massively into sports and didn't really want to wear the uniform; as he felt like he wouldn't fit in with all his sporty friends, he has excelled himself at the corps of drums.  He has learned how to play drums, bell lyre and cymbals and has also been promoted to lance corporal within the Training band. 

I can't thank Mark, Rose and all the band members at the Corps of Drums enough for giving my children the chance to be a part of a very special band!


From a Band Member

I have played the drum for 2 years in another band and felt bullied and forced to look else where. I heard about another local band and got in contact with Mark and went along. The atmosphere is so different, it's more of a youth band so I felt more comfortable, everyone was really welcoming and nice. I feel like there has been more thought put into things, I feel more looked after, we have food and water and breaks. When we perform I feel like part of a team, your proud to wear your uniform and play along side your band mates. We have fun at practice and at parades, playing the drum has helped me in my music GCSE and kept me busy on the weekends and gives me something to focus on. I like getting involved in the fundraising stall and instructing. I hope to be part of this band for many years to come, I hope to make friends and encourage my friends to join. I want to see the new building built.

From a Parent

My daughter had been through a difficult time when she joined the band in early 2014.  She had left another local drum corps because she had been bullied and I was apprehensive that the culture at Sandhurst would be the same.

It was a lovely surprise to find everyone at the band friendly and welcoming.  The atmosphere was warm and gentle and we have both come to love the gentle humour and sense of belonging that comes with being in the band.  Bullying has never been an issue as the culture is inclusive and accepting for the diverse needs of all the children and teenagers.  

My daughter loves Monday evenings as she gets to practice her favourite thing, drumming, and is building friendships with team members and adults who run the band.  Her sense of accomplishment when she performs shines through and I am so proud of her and the other band members who work so hard to show the public what they can do.  

Confidence is a difficult thing to build when you are a shy teenager, but being in the band has given my daughter a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging.  This in turn has boosted her confidence and her sense of pride is obvious when she is telling friends and relatives about what has been happening with the band.

In this ever changing world, it is heart warming to find an organisation that has the children’s wellbeing at the centre of all they do.  The passion and hard work of adults and children alike is a shining example of how to give back to society and make a difference.  The staff are great role models to the children and my daughter and I feel very lucky to be part of such a worthwhile organisation.    

From a Band Member

In 2010 I saw at the Sandhurst donkey derby, Sandhurst and district corps of drums and became inspired. I asked my mum if I could join as I thought it looked fun and interesting and I also didn’t have any other hobbies.

When I joined I had recently been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes which lost a lot of my confidence, so when I joined it boosted it a lot. It also made me feel part of a group and make new friends.

I can now play the snare drum, bugle and cymbals. Everyone in the corps of drums now feel like my family.

From a Band Member

I am eleven years old. I was invited to join the band in October last year (2013). Since then I have made lots of new friends, both children and adults. I have become a member of a team. I have learnt how to play the bugle and the drum. I have performed at a number of shows, fetes and carnivals. All of these have helped me gain in confidence and kept me busy. I have experienced many new things and I love it - what more can I say - except thank you Sandhurst & District Corps of Drums!

From a Band Member

I joined the Corps of Drums in 2012 when I was 8 years old. I had been watching my brother in the band training and taking part in events for 2 years before I joined. I really enjoyed watching the drummers doing their  stick lifting and one day decided I’d like to try. That was 2 years ago and I can now play a drum, bell lyre cymbals and I have even been promoted to a Lance Corporal in training band, helping younger children to be able to do what I have done.

I’ve made great friends during the time being at drums and hope one day to become the next drum major