Band strikes a note of victory

Band strikes a note of victory

Cornet players Steve Chapman, Richard Selvidge, Sarah Humphrey, Neil Allen and Helen Wright of Wantage Silver Band

Eileen Sykes receives a cup from contest judge Dennis Wilby

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

WANTAGE Silver Band members have two good reasons to blow their own trumpets.

The band came first in the autumn regional band championships and has finally started work on building a home to call its own after a 10-year fund- raising campaign.

It is celebrating this month after breaking ground on its new band hall.

The £260,000 building, on Tugwell Field next to Lark Hill, will be the silver band’s first permanent home.

Chairman Eleanor Turner said: “You can’t believe how pleased I feel about this.

“It has been such a torturous road to get where we are, so I am delighted.

“The timber frame is already up, next they will start putting tiles on the roof and cladding.”

The band subleases the site for a peppercorn rent from Vale of White Horse District Council, which in turn leases the site from owner Oxfordshire County Council.

The band won the championships after performimg the piece On The Shoulders of Giants by Peter Graham.

Trombonist Kris Reeder said: “We played a very varied piece very well.

“Wantage Silver Band are quality, when we go to the international masters next year we are going to do really well.

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“We are the best country in the world and we don’t shout about it enough – we dominate at brass banding.”

The Southern Counties Band Association annual autumn contest was held on September 30 in Crawley.

Ian Carter, secretary of the brass band regional governing body Scaba, said: “They beat some very good bands in a very strong field.”

Bandmaster Eileen Sykes said: “We were very excited because we have been so close to winning for a couple of years.”

The band hopes to hold a grand opening for its new building in January and is offering to rent out rooms to other community groups.

In the meantime there is more fundraising to be done, as the band only raised £170,000 towards the total and relied on £90,000 in donations from its members to cover the rest, which it will repay through funds raised at concerts.

Its next performance will be a Masquerade Ball on October 27 at Wantage Civic Hall.

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