Billy Cooper, the Barmy Army's trumpet player, to retire

[img]" srcset=" 240w, 320w, 480w, 624w, 800w" sizes="(min-width: 900px) 50vw, (min-width: 600px) 70vw, 100vw" alt="Billy plays alongside Geoffrey Boycott, New Zealand, 2015" class="">
Billy plays alongside Geoffrey Boycott, New Zealand, 2015For many, he's the soundtrack to the England cricket team.Jerusalem being belted out[/img]

But Billy Cooper's trumpet will soon be no more. After 16 years of rousing England's fans and players alike with his greatest hits, Cooper - a classically trained musician who can usually be found in cricket grounds the world over - has decided to call it a day.Certainly when it comes to touring anyway - the current Test against South Africa will be his last one (at least in an official capacity).View more on twitter"It's more complicated now, with a wife and kids," he tells BBC Sport, finding a quiet place to chat on the phone just as Zak Crawley scores his maiden Test 50 ('Land of Hope and Crawley'!).It's a big moment and the Barmy Army are in full song behind him."It's good to be going out on a high," Cooper says, as England march towards a series win. Victory in the current Test in Johannesburg would be only the 15th win he has seen in 52 Tests abroad.
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/488D/production/_110637581_billyinjohannesburg2016.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Billy in Johannesburg, 2016">
Billy Cooper in Johannesburg, 2016But how did Cooper get here in the first place[/img]
He says he approached the members of the Barmy Army about the trumpet, who subsequently asked him to prove it did indeed belong to him. That, of course, wasn't a problem - and it soon led to a "sing-song" with the gang, where Billy met Paul Burnham, one of the founding members of the Barmy Army."Paul said 'we'd love you to come to South Africa with us for the next Test and we can pay for your flights'," Billy recalled.The rest is history.His first year with the supporters group began well, with England winning the Ashes in Australia in 2005 - their first win since 1986-87. That brought about one of his proudest memories when victorious skipper Michael Vaughan invited him on stage at Trafalgar Square during the celebrations that followed.View more on twitterThere have been lows too. Billy cites the 2006-2007 Ashes, when England were walloped 5-0 and he was banned from playing his trumpet in the stadium. "I don't think the Aussies wanted a home game to feel like an away game by letting us make too much noise," Billy observes.Billy had been escorted from The Gabba[/i] by officials after celebrating, sparking a row over the use of musical instruments in the stadium.He tells us the number of losses he's witnessed have made the wins all the sweeter. And he says touring the world with England over the past six years has become addictive."You leave behind the winter in England for someone else's summer."For now though, he's happy to call it a day: "I don't want to overstay my welcome."
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