One of the founding members of Falmouth Marine Band has died - just five days after marrying his long-term partner of 25 years.

Christopher Hodges, known to many as 'Sarge', died at home in Falmouth last Tuesday, November 10, following a long illness.

He was known widely across Falmouth and the surrounding area as a founder member of the Marine Band, after joining the first meeting organised by sail makers David Spargo and Colin Bennett.

The fun marching band was set up in 1988 to breathe life back into Falmouth Carnival and has grown to become a hugely popular part of many town events throughout the year.

Just five days before he died Chris got to marry his partner of 25 years, Lyn, in a small ceremony at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice.

Lyn said: "I was proud to take his name after all that time. It was was just lovely that he wanted to give me his name before he died."

Since his death Chris has been described as a ‘man mountain, ‘gentle giant’ and ‘Cornish legend’.

Falmouth Packet:

Chris in one of the many Marine Band outfits, which traditionally change every year

The 75-year-old was born in Mylor on August 25, 1945.

He attended Mylor School and then went on to Quarry School in Falmouth, in a set of converted Nissen huts - now the location of the Quarry Hill car park.

In his early life he worked as a builder and fisherman until he went underground at Wheal Jane mine, near Baldhu and Chacewater.

Latterly, he worked at Falmouth Docks as part of the heavy lift gang, until his retirement in 2013.

A jack of all trades, he was a tall, strong figure with an extensive general knowledge - and a whizz at Trivial Pursuit, with everyone wanting to be on his team at quizzes.

He was a lifelong supporter of Fulham Football Club and Kent Cricket Club, and avidly followed Cornish rugby.

He could often be seen in Wetherspoons, enjoying a pint or two, or relaxing at home reading books about the high seas and windjammers.

It was another pub in town, the Star and Garter, that led to the part of his life Chris will best be remembered for by many.

It was here that the first meeting about the Marine Band was held, opened up to local fishermen, chandlers, dockworkers, publicans and marine businesses - anyone with a loose connection to the sea.

Costumes were made out of cheap plaid, which Colin dubbed the ‘Cornish Drinking Tartan’. Drums were fashioned out of used cooking oil containers. Many members sported strange instruments such as a giant car horn, broken cymbals and a trumpet that made a whining sound.

The band gave its first performance at Falmouth Carnival in 1989, lubricated by a bit of Dutch courage, and marched in a uniform manner.


Chris, or 'Sarge', was the glue that held the boys together. In later years he took over the big bass drum and one thump on the

skin would have band members downing their pints. Hearing the words ‘Drums at the ready, quick march!’ off they went for their next performance.

In 1991, the band was part of Trelawny’s Army that travelled to Twickenham to see the nailbiting match between Cornwall and Yorkshire, when Cornwall won 29-20.

Following this there were many festivals in France and even a voyage back to Falmouth in 2000 on the tall ship Sedov.

One friend said: "These were the glory days of charity collections for local causes. Along with their good hearted revelry, there was solidarity and a strong sense of belonging."

In 2014, Chris was awarded a lifelong honorary medal by the drum major for "outstanding effort" and 25 years of loyal service to the band.