By Stan Stewart.
The first time Geith played the Last Post at an ANZAC Day service was when he was 14. He has been doing it ever since. Geith Pickford has now played at 60 RSA Anzac dawn services in Whitianga. However, 2023 was the first time he played a bugle.
Up until this year, he always used a small trumpet that he bought from a trade display at a Music Traders Convention in Rotorua many years ago. It has the same properties, pitch and tone as a regular trumpet but is scaled down in size. He has always fondly called it his ‘pocket rocket’ - in a band situation, it went like a rocket!
A while back, one of the favourite customers of the staff at Pinkies, by the name of Marcel, came into the shop and handed Geith a gift in a bag. The staff feel that whenever Marcel comes into the shop, she brightens up their day. The bag she gave to Geith contained a bugle. She told Geith the bugle belonged to her late daughter. She wanted him to have it because she felt he could make good use of it for her daughter. As with all military bugles, the tone of the bugle is not as bright as a trumpet, - bugles have no frills. There is a saying among trumpet and cornet players that 'you don't play a bugle - you fight it'. So it was, with some trepidation, that Geith brought the bugle along on Anzac Day.
He need not have feared. It was a cold morning and the tone carried beautifully in the chilly air. Perhaps the instrument appreciated the clean and polish Geith had given it the night before! It is no chore for Geith to play at a dawn Anzac service. “It is a privilege,” Geith said. This year was particularly special, as he felt he was also playing it to honour the memory of Marcel's daughter.
This year there was some additional accompaniment for the service. On this chilly morning, as the service proceeded, the Tuis in the trees struck up a great conversation. To those who noticed it, they added something very special to the Dawn Service.
The photo attached - The illegal ANZAC morning service.
Because of Covid, all gatherings were cancelled in April 2020., including all Anzac services. To Geith, that didn’t seem right. “We should remember our brave boys and girls on ANZAC morning,” he thought. So impetuously, he packed his bugle (pocket trumpet) and at 6.00am, he made his way down to Whitianga’s cenotaph. As it turned out, a few others had the same idea. They had a simple service and Geith played the Last Post. Illegal yes, but it. Was a memorable and moving experience.
I have been wondering what the name Geith, means. ‘Geith - A strong sense of order and organization skills characterize this name very well. Moreover, you are a person who likes to take action and get things done.’ It seems a very fitting name for the owner of ‘Pinkies’ lee Street, Whitianga.
And in Industry. “Geith” is a leading recognised attachment specialist-based Dublin. With over 60 years of engineering expertise in the development of excavator attachments, Geith is a company that is appreciated for its wide and safe range of quick hitches as well as its selection of buckets.”
Caption: Geith Pickford pays his respects on the 'lockdown' Anzac Day, 2020.