MEMORY LANE: Buxton’s Billerettes celebrate 40 years

The Billeretes performing in Buxton in 1975.
The Billeretes performing in Buxton in 1975.

It’s 40 years since the Buxton Carnival of 1975 when Bill Weston MBE, supported by Simon Nichols and Neil Gregory, paraded out with their pom-poms at the ready, for what was to be a one-off demonstration of how men could outdo the girls as majorettes.

The Billerettes were born. Since then, the dancing troupe has performed at over 1,200 events, including carnivals across Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, as well as at wedding parties, birthdays, shows, sporting events - the list is endless.

The Billerettes, 1980.

The Billerettes, 1980.

Thousands of pounds has been raised by the troupe for more than 100 local and national charities, although the main object of the Billerettes’ antics has always been to supply something money doesn’t buy - a good old belly laugh, or at least a smile.

The Billerettes have, particularly through the media of television, carried the name of Buxton around the world into 112 countries and through every continent of the world. The Billerettes can truly claim the title of international.

During their 40 years over 430 people have been a Billerette, once a Billerette always a Billerette.

A question commonly put to Billerettes leader Bill Weston MBE is, which is his best event?

The Billerettes

The Billerettes

“A difficult question to answer for there is so many most memorable events,” says the only Billerette to have been active throughout the entire 40 years.

“There was a wonderful stage performance on the Crewe Lyceum Theatre.

“Of course Buxton Carnival day takes some beating, as does being on the Manchester United football pitch or the Manchester Ice Rink.”

For the team, one of their favourites was performing in front of thousands of spectators, and the television cameras, as the Olympic Torch came to Buxton in 2012.

The Billerettes

The Billerettes

On that occasion they were without their leader, who had been given the honour of being an official torchbearer.

Whoever would have thought that the phenomena known as the Billerettes would, 40 years on, still be so active.