Skeogh Flute Band laid on an honour guard last week for the final ‘parade’ of local man Ted Carey, who served the band for 87 of his 94 years.
It was as the band made ready in Dromore to set off with its local Preceptory for the Black Saturday demonstration in Rathfriland that members had learned of the death, after a short illness, of their Honorary President and lifelong member Ted, and it was with thanks to Mr Carey’s family for the “honour and privilege” that they later played so prominent a part in his funeral proceedings.
The honour guard flanked Mr Carey’s coffin as it left his Castlevennon Road home, bandsmen joining friends, neighbours and local members of the Orange and Black in bearing his remains to the sound of a lament played by Skeogh Flute chairman David Craig.
Again, band members lined the Diamond Road at Skeogh Orange Hall when the hearse carrying Mr Carey’s remains stopped briefly as a mark of respect on the way to First Dromore Presbyterian Church, where Ted was to be buried after the funeral service.
Drum Major Colin Ward led a bearer-party into the church with Mr Carey’s coffin, the honour guard lining the church steps as Gordon Jamison played a hymn on the flute.
Ted Carey had joined the ranks of Skeogh Flute Band in 1928, when he was just eight years old.
Like so many other young boys joining a band, his first instrument was the triangle, but he soon progressed to the cymbals and later the flute.
However, he was eventually to take charge of the bass drum, where his dedication and ability earned him the affectionate nickname of ‘Steady Teddy’.
Said Colin Ward: “Ted was a man of very few words but a wealth of knowledge.
“No parade was too long and nothing ever phased him or caused him to miss a beat.”
Ted retired from parading in 1998 after suffering a broken leg, but he did not take a back seat and was elected to the role of band President, a position he cherished and one from which he kept a close eye on how the band was progressing.
In the year 2000, Banbridge District Council presented Ted with an award in recognition of his long service with the band.
During last week’s funeral service Mr Jamison paid tribute to Ted on behalf of his family - Berniece, John and Edmund and wider family circle - while Mr Ward paid tribute on behalf of the band.
Mr Jamison again played a hymn as Ted’s coffin was borne out of the church by a second bearer party and given into the care of his family en route to the graveside.
There Mr Ward gave a salute on behalf of the band and Mr Craig played a lament as Ted was laid to rest.
“Ted’s final ‘parade’ marked the end of an era which lasted almost 87 years for Skeogh Flute Band,” said Mr Ward, who characterised the band’s part in the funeral as a simple reflection of the high esteem in which Mr Carey was held.
Skeogh Flute Band now hopes to hold a tribute night in memory of Ted sometime within the next few months.