inducts its first two Hall of Fame Members
We are extremely pleased to announce that Winter Guard United Kingdom has introduced from 2017 its own Hall of Fame as a way of honouring the “legends” of the UK Winter Guard activity ensuring they are remembered for the indelible impressions they have left on the UK activity.
Candidates were nominated and seconded before being discussed by the Hall of Fame assessment team and we are proud to announce that the two successful candidates for 2017 are Alan Thompson and Ian Kirk.
Congratulations to both incredibly worthy “Legends”. Below are extracts from their nominations...
Alan’s dedication in the activity spans decades. He is Chairman of Southern Knights Performing Arts, an organisation that he has built and which is in its 29th year. His involvement is year-round and often requires him to be away from his family. You will see Alan at almost anything related to the activity, always with a positive attitude, whether it be fund raising, community events, rehearsal, board meetings, the list goes on and on.
He continually evaluates each guard throughout the season to ensure all is running smoothly. His motivation with Southern Knights, as well as all WGUK, is to ensure that members develop confidence and a strong work ethic that will allow them to be successful as adults. This philosophy is in conjunction with his support of the social aspect of the activity, to have a good time as performers as well as building life-long friends as well as individuals that will continue to be involved in the activity through volunteering, teaching and judging.
As Chairman of MPAUK for 11 years, he was instrumental in its creation in 2006 that allowed
winter guard organisations to be classed as members of the charity. Prior to the formation of MPAUK, Alan held the role of WGUK Chairman and Trustee. He also serves as the international representative for WGUK, interacting with CGN
and/WGI to foster and maintain relationships that help to provide consistency across the activity. Alan’s involvement in the
winter guard activity started with his involvement in DCUK, of which he was a member. He has dedicated his life to the activity, meeting his wife in drum corps and supporting both of his daughters as they grew up with WGUK.
As a true leader, Alan remains focused on goals of WGUK, always maintaining a strategic view of the activity. He is equally tactical, whether attending meetings, sorting out venues, setting up and breaking down events or entertaining everyone from behind the microphone. His dedication and longevity going on 30 years in the activity has made him one of the supporting pillars of the organisation.
Alan is, and has been for many years, the public face, voice and driving force behind the UK activity. He has throughout the years spent huge amounts of time and energy developing WGUK, MPA-UK and its predecessors.
The Hall of Fame awarding committee recognise that no one is more deserving of entry into the Hall of Fame than Alan Thompson.
Starting from the early 1980's, Ian was one of the first males to march
Winter Guard and to encourage other young boys and men to do the same. From “New Wave Drum & Bugle Corps” through “Limited Edition”, “Free Spirit”, “Poynton Commodores” and then onto “Northern Academy”, he has been innovative in his designs and was one of the first people to put out a show that used voices rather than just music. His first championship first place was
with Warrington in 1990, he took NAPA to two WGI championships and he has also taught and written for the German Colour Guard “Star Riders”.
What sets him aside is the way in which he is totally happy teaching rookie five year olds as well as experienced World class members. He adapts his teaching and his ideas to suit the group. If a member is struggling with technique he will spend hours teaching that member until they are confident.
He understands that Winter Guard needs to get new young people into the activity as well as to push our experienced people to new and exciting limits. He values all members at both end of the spectrum. “Kirky” continues to visit many guards on a regular basis to help create, design and teach.
He was also a valued member of the judging team for many years.
In addition to his teaching, design and mentoring he has always appreciated the work of volunteers and had been known to roll his sleeves up in the kitchen or to iron flags in the small hours prior to finals. He has been incredibly generous with his time and money and rarely travels without filling his car with members who need lifts. Throughout all of this he remains a great character with exceptional integrity and truly inspiring work. His contribution to this activity is immeasurable!
Within minutes of speaking to Ian, it becomes clear that this is a man who puts his heart and soul into an activity that he has loved for many years. His enthusiasm and passion, coupled with his years of knowledge and expertise wash over you and carry you along and all the while you're just hoping that some of that talent and ability may rub off on you. His creative soul or his “pixies” are legendary and he is always looking for new and innovative ideas to push the art form forwards.
Over the past 30 years, Ian has been a constant pillar of our colour guard community working with many units at all level of competition as an instructor, designer, director and judge both within the summer and winter circuits, always there to provide a welcomed and valued opinion and willingness to share his knowledge and experience with all.
The UK has had the pleasure of producing some very talented individuals and Ian Kirk is one of those people who deserves the recognition from our activity of becoming a member of the “WGUK Hall of Fame” for his endless commitment to the youth of this country.
More information regarding the WGUK Hall of Fame
can be found at http://www.wguk.org.uk/about/wghof.html
6th April 2017