SHANKILL PROTESTANT BOYS FLUTE BAND
The Shankill Protestant Boys Flute Band—or as they are more famously known now—The SPB—were formed in the Shankill area in 1980. The reasons for forming the band were much more than simply establishing another flute band—the Shankill had many at that time. The men behind the formation had other ideas. They wanted to promote and express their Protestant culture and also remember the brave Volunteers and Servicemen who had fought and died during two World Wars—in particular during the Somme offensive—and to remember those in more recent times who perished during the conflict in the war against violent Republicanism.
Sadly many of those who served the band since their beginnings 33 years ago are no longer with us—either passed away or in many instances murdered. However of the original founders around ten remain. Some, remarkably are still marching while others retain honorary membership. Gary Lenaghan—The Hunters—Harold Reynolds-The Young’s—The Freel’s—John McQuade—Derek Mawhinney—The Finlay’s were all there at the start and remain heavily involved today.
The SPB were the first flute band to receive and carry the colours of the 1st Battalion of the Ulster Volunteer Force—in 1982—and to this day carry those colours with pride and dignity. It is a commonly known fact that these colours are carried on ALL occasions—at no time are they excluded—and in the past this has caused some difficulties—with both the Police and indeed with certain sections of the Loyal Orders. At one stage during the Eighties the band came into conflict with the Scottish Orange Institution which forced the band off the road because of their refusal to parade without their beloved colours. Since then the SPB have not walked in Scotland with the Orange.
Around the same time and with the concept of the Supergrass system being implemented the band became heavily involved with Families For Legal Rights. For ma