Dutch philanthropist Father Loek Struick on Thursday presented musical instruments to five scout bands in the country.
Speaking at the presentation at Marie Manga’s residence near Akkwa Suites in Kerr Serign, Loek said he first visited the country in 1997 when he came to know about the Gambia Scout Band.
The donor said the instruments are meant for the Sanyang, Talinding, Bijilo, Basse and Gunjur scout bands.
He explained that the donation is the 17th in a row, adding that this is his 41st visit to The Gambia in 21 years.
According to him, the donated musical instruments include 41 red and black ski jackets, 45 white shirts, 23 red cloths for music teachers (50 x 106 cm), 11 red T-shirts, 26 red neckties, 15 drums (parade + flat), 4 saxophones, 8 clarinets, 1 box containing various small instruments, 5 trumpets, concert pianos, 3 music standards, 2 trombones, 1 standard drum , 4 harnesses for drums, and 1 large standard chrome.
Chief Scout of The Gambia, Abubacarr Krubally, thanked Father Loek for his kindheartedness, noting that without his long and continuous intervention, the scout bands in the country would have been defunct by now.
He said there is no existing scout band in the country today that has not benefitted from the instruments donated by Mr Loek.
“I call on the national bands, the police and the army bands, to support the scout bands as the young people from these bands are absorbed by them.”
He pointed out the presentation was the first donation to scout bands through his executive since they were elected into office on 14 October 2017.
“Despite the fact that they have not read music formally, the scout bands could play any kind of music,” stated.
Krubally also urged the beneficiary bands to make the best use of the materials, advising them to donate any excess instruments to other scout bands in need.
In his own words: “These materials are rare to come by as they can cost nothing less than a million dalasis,” while urging them to take good care of them.
Janko Jallow, public relations officer for Western Region Scouts and the band master for Sanyang Scout Band also commended Father Loek for his long unwavering support.
“We have been beneficiaries of his support in the form of footballs and other sporting gears among others for years now,” he noted.
He said the support has gone a long way in boosting the morale of scouts, adding that the female drum major of the Police Band is from Sanyang Scout Band.
Lamin K Cham, council member of the Gambia Scout Association thanked Loek for the donated materials.
“The Scout Band is a section of the Gambia Scout Association and a good number of our members are playing a central role in in the bands of the police and army today,” said.
He concluded that Father Loek has now become a household name in Gambia Scout Association.
Father Loek’s benevolent support to The Gambia won him a “Friend of The Gambia Award” from Consulate General of The Republic of The Gambia in Holland in May 2016.
For many years he has been actively involved in stretching his benevolent hand to The Gambia. His efforts and resources have been invested in supporting the development of the Scout Band, Gambia Police Band as well as the Gambia Army Band.