Posthumous MBE for proud Thirst family

The British Bandsman, Saturday 11 November 2000

L-R: Patricia, Robert, Yvonne and Dr. Tim Thirst

October 31 was a sad but proud moment for Tim Thirst and his family, who travelled to Buckingham Palace to receive a posthumous MBE for his father, banding stalwart Gerald.

Gerald, a Guinness World Record Holder for 50 years as a conductor and 76 years as player with the Stalham Band, knew about the honour, and receiving it was to have been the proudest day of his life. Tragically he died three months before receiving his medal, which was presented to Tim, his mother, Yvonne, his wife Patricia and son Robert.

An emotional Tim, who two years ago followed his father's footsteps by taking over Stalham's baton told BB: "Dad would have liked to have been there, that would have been the icing on the cake, but the main thing is that he knew that he had been awarded the honour before he died."

The Thirst family's connections with brass banding and in particular Stalham, which is based halfway between Cromer and Great Yarmouth, look like continuing down the generations; Gerald's grandson, Robert, already picks up a cornet and a baton, though he is just two! He calls Gerald's honour 'Grandad Toot Toot's medal' Toot Toot being his pet name for his cornet.

Said Tim: "After the citation for dad's award, the Queen chatted to us about his achievements and about Stalham Band's current activities. She said that she was particularly pleased to be able to attend this investiture."

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