An historic brass band who keep the region’s rich industrial heritage alive through music are appealing for the public’s help to continue.
Despite Easington Colliery closing in 1993, its brass band still entertains the crowds more than 100 years since they performed their first note.
Now the much-loved band are hoping the public will help them save their headquarters and rehearsal room in the old colliery pay office, which is the last remaining building of the pit.
Once the spot where miners would receive their pay packets of cash every Friday, the years have taken their toll on the building at the bottom of Ashton Street.
A leaking roof has caused damp to get in to the building which is more than 100 years old, and architects estimate that £200,000 is needed to make the necessary repairs and modernise the site.
The band, which has always been financially self-supporting and has survived when dozens of colliery bands haven’t, is applying for a Heritage Lottery Grant to make the repairs but needs to raise £40,000 itself towards the total cost.
Chairman Jonathan Collins said: “Over the past few years the building has become an increasingly unpleasant place to be because of all the damp and the repairs that are needed.
“We are hoping to get the necessary funds so that we can open it up to the community. Currently, we only use it to rehearse two / three night a week and we would like to open it up to community groups and organisations looking for somewhere to meet and hold events. We also want to open up a cafe to serve the people of Easington and the many visitors to the nature reserve and coastal path.”
The band and its building, opposite the Disaster Memorial Garden, has long been at the heart of the village and when 83 men were killed down the mine in the explosion of 1951 the band played at every funeral of each of the men who tragically lost their lives, which included two players from the band.
Jonathan said: “When the building was used as a pay office we had a place inside the yard but that was demolished. We ended up in a few different places before we bought the pay office when that became vacant. We’re really hoping the public will support us in keeping the building going.”
•Easington Colliery Band have set up a Go Fund Me page to help them raise the £40,000 towards the total cost. Make a donation at https://www.gofundme.com/old-pay-office-easington
•Flick through our gallery of Easington Colliery Band through the years here.