Silver Band raise £7k for new hall

Oxford Mail: The Silver Band raise money over Christmas Buy this photo » The Silver Band raise money over Christmas

WANTAGE Silver Band has raised £7,000 during the Christmas period to help pay for the cost of their new hall.

From the last week in November the band was playing private parties, work events, and when they had a spare minute playing through the streets collecting donations.

On Christmas Eve, one group invaded town pubs to serenade revellers with Hark the Herald Angels Sing and other popular carols, while another band toured the villages, playing through until Christmas morning.

Band members spent 10 years raising £270,000 needed to build their new hall at Tugwell field, near Charlton, which they officially opened in June.

But much of that came in loans, including out of members’ own pockets, and the band still owes £70,000 which it hopes to pay back before it can start work on a second concert hall at the site which it already has planning permission for.

Publicity officer and tuba player Alan Sykes said: “We have found people to be very generous, most of all on Christmas Eve when they are very merry.

Trumpet player Lucy Scott, who joined the town centre contingent, said: “On any other day of the year, we wouldn’t get the same reaction if we burst into a pub and started playing, but on Christmas Eve, it makes their night.

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“People understand that the band is a big organisation that the town is proud of. They know they are contributing to a Wantage institution. We are really grateful.”

At 150 members, the Wantage band is one of the biggest in the country, and in March is planning to launch its third contesting band, making it one of the few bands in the country with three contest bands.

Anyone interested in joining the band should see wantageband.org or call Eileen Sykes on 01235 767541.

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