A historic brass band is hoping to hit the right notes for years to come after a successful start to a fundraising campaign.
Easington Colliery Brass Band is in the process of replacing all of its instruments, which were showing signs of their age after more than 20 years of regular use.
To help fund the upgrade, the band launched a campaign last April, with the cost totalling about £70,000.
Already, £33,000 of grants and donations have come in, allowing the band to buy 11 new instruments.
The group’s management committee is also looking to set up a junior feeder band, which will use the existing instruments.
The band celebrated its centenary in December 2015, and is entirely self-supporting, aside from an annual donation made by sponsor Michael Watt.
If we can keep the momentum that we’ve built going, we’re hoping to have completed the project in the not-too-distant futurePeter Lawson
The most recent contribution came from regional employer the Banks Group, with a £3,000 donation allowing for the purchase of a new euphonium.
Peter Lawson, the band’s secretary, said: “The response we’ve had from around the region has been terrific, and generous donations like the one we’ve just received from the Banks Group give us the platform we need to secure a sustainable future for the band.
“We’ve concentrated on buying in the big instruments so far, as they’re naturally the ones that get more bumps along the way, but if we can keep the momentum that we’ve built going, we’re hoping to have completed the project in the not-too-distant future.
“Several of our members are music teachers, and they’ve already committed to providing their expertise free of charge to help a new generation of players come through the feeder band that we’re planning to set up, which will help us ensure the band has a bright future as well as a successful past.”
The band plays in a number of concerts and competitions across the country every year.
Chris Kelsey, communications manager at the Banks Group, adds: “Easington Colliery Brass Band is synonymous with the type of high quality music that has come from the Durham coalfields for generations, and as both a County Durham business and a part of the region’s continuing mining heritage, we’re proud to be playing our part in helping it move forward into a new musical era.”
The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.