Penarth’s famous Royal Supremes Marching Display Jazz Band – which has appeared in many town parades and public events – today bade farewell to its co-founder Mrs Dawn Flanagan whose funeral was held today at St Augustine’s Church.
Mrs Flanagan, who was in her mid-70s , passed away peacefully on January 28th at Holme Towers Penarth surrounded by her family.
Although she might not have been a household name herself, the ‘Royal Supremes‘ – the highly disciplined precision marching band she co-created – became part of the essence of Penarth and something the whole town enjoyed on high days and holidays .
Back in the 1960s Mrs Flanagan and her husband Mick had been the amongst the first to move into the then-new Billybanks council estate in Penarth (on what was called High View Road).
Mick later worked as a scaffolder on the building of the subsequent “royal” blocks of the Billybanks development.
The 30-strong band was born in 1982 and Mrs Flanagan poured so much energy, time and effort into it she became known as the band’s “Mum“.
The band was based in what was then the Harbour View Community Centre. Its members (all local people – including Mrs Flanagan’s three daughters) were kitted-out with immaculate navy blue uniforms and grenadier-style hats with red cockades.
With its kazoos, drums, glockenspeils, marimbas, cymbals and complex drill routines, it became a became a familiar sight and welcome sound at scores of Penarth’s public events.
The band also competed with considerable success against similar marching bands from other parts of the Britain and – wherever it went – flew the flag for Penarth. The pride it generated locally literally banged the drum for the Billybanks community .
Although the Royal Supremes band is no longer active – today, to mark her passing, some twenty former band-members donned their distinctive uniforms once again to march ahead of Mrs Flanagan’s funeral cortege along Belle Vue Terrace to St Augustine’s Church.
Police cordoned off local roads as the procession made its way in brilliant sunshine with to the church service . More than 200 mourners attended to pay their respects.
Today’s moving funeral service, was taken by the vicar of St Augustines, Father Mark Jones and arranged by Green Willow of Dinas Powys .
It was an event which marked not only the passing of a popular and much respected lady but also, perhaps, the closing of a proud chapter of Penarth’s social history.