OBE for military music leader who led bands for Diamond Jubilee

HONOURS Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace and his OBE pictured with film star Ewan McGregor, who also received an OBE yesterday
HONOURS Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace and his OBE pictured with film star Ewan McGregor, who also received an OBE yesterday
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AS THE head of the Portsmouth-based Royal Marines Band Service, it fell to Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace to lead the music for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Now the Prince of Wales has presented him with his own honour after the 48-year-old was given the Order of the British Empire (OBE) yesterday.

As the principal director of music for the Royal Marines Band Service, he led massed bands from the three services including more than 450 musicians and pipers in front of the Queen and a worldwide television audience of millions last year.

He organised and conducted the music at the Jubilee Muster and the Review of the Armed Forces at Windsor in May.

Yesterday he made the trip to Buckingham Palace to collect his OBE, on the same day as film star Ewan McGregor, who was awarded the honour for services to drama and charity.

Lt Col Grace said: ‘This is a really proud moment for me, receiving the OBE, especially with my wife Isobel and son Ryan there to witness it. They have supported me all the way through.

‘I am also receiving this honour in recognition and on behalf of the young men and women of the Royal Marines Band Service.

‘Their professionalism, dedication, and commitment are boundless.

‘I will be as proud conducting them at the South Coast Proms next week as I was when I received this award.’

Lt Col Grace’s 30-year career has included many other highlights, including serving with the Royal Marines Band on the Royal Yacht Britannia for five years.

During the Gulf War of 2003 he led the band acting as casualty handlers in concerts on HMS Ocean and HMS Ark Royal days before the start of the conflict.

His next major role is only two weeks away, when he will conduct the massed bands of the Royal Marines at the South Coast Proms at Whale Island on July 5 and July 6.

Thousands of people are expected to enjoy a picnic in the grounds of the Royal Navy’s HMS Excellent, while enjoying a stunning programme of music.

There will also be an aerobatic display and a performance from the Military Wives Choir.

Tickets for the South Coast Prom can be bought from the box office on (023) 9231 2007 or online at southcoastproms.com.