For Sharelle Marching coach Kim Coley, marching is something that runs in her family's blood.

Kim has been involved in marching for 25 years.

"I first started marching in my hometown of Wanganui in the under-12 grade. I then moved to Waikato and competed in the senior grade. Six years ago I moved to Taranaki, joining Te Arakamu marching in Eltham before starting Sharelle Marching in Stratford five years ago."

She says marching runs in her family's blood.

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"My mother used to march and my daughter marches as well. My son was going to march this season but because of the change in the rugby season he was unable to."

Sharelle Marching is the only competitive team based in Stratford.

The club has three teams. The Sharelle Guards intros (age 4-7) the Sharelle Guards under-12 (age 7-12) and the Sharelle Guards under-16 (age 10-16).

Kim says the team are busy preparing for upcoming competitions. She says this year the club is hoping to enter two teams into the north island champs.

"The North Island Champs are held in New Plymouth this year. It's exciting as the champs haven't been hosted by the Taranaki Marching Association for quite some time."

The club is hoping to enter the Sharelle Guards under-12s and Sharelle Guards under-16s.

To be able to compete in the champs, the club is needing more members.

"We can't compete if there is less than seven people per team. We want to be able to represent Stratford with our teams. However, if we don't have the numbers that won't be able to happen."

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Andrea Bosson-Hart, another coach for the team, says being a marching club member is a rewarding experience.

"It is great exercise that keeps you fit and it also helps with confidence. You are performing in front of a large crowd with the support of the team.

"It also teaches children lots of counts and how to interpret music. It's a bit of hard work but it's worth it."

Andrea first started marching when she was 7 for the Eltham Militaries marching club.

"My daughter has marched for the past four seasons with Sharelle Marching."

Andrea says lifelong friendships are made through marching.

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"It's very interactive. One of the main reasons I joined as a child was for the friendships. I'm still friends with them to this day."

Kim says the club is busy fundraising for the Dunedin nationals in March.

"We are organising raffles and sausage sizzles."

Kim says sponsorship and donations are much appreciated.

"We would like to thank CMK for donating money towards last year's travel uniforms, Farmlands for the drink bottles, hats and bags and to Paper Plus and thyme out for the raffle items."

■ Sharelle Marching meet Wednesday afternoons from 3.30-5.30 and Saturdays 1-4pm. For more information contact Kim Coley on 022 538 7818.

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