A SOUTH Craven brass band is enjoying growing success after first getting together only a handful of years ago.

Despite being a near fledgling band, Sutton’s Got Brass, managed to secure a place on the main stage at the Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Palace last weekend.

Band chairman Jeremy Law said the band was ‘on the up’ and explained how it all stated.

He said is was through an inspired decision, although in her own words “on a bit of a whim” by the headmistress of Sutton CP School, Fiona Beetles, who applied for a Peoples Lottery grant to create a community brass band.

Mr Law explained: “As time went on, the application progressed through the various stages until news came through that the project had reached the final stage with one last competitor to beat – another North Yorkshire primary school. “The last obstacle to be overcome was to generate as many telephone calls as possible to a designated number. The school which generated the most calls, won the day.”

Mr Law, who had only moved to Sutton a few weeks earlier, and finding himself with not a lot to do, went down to the school, armed with a leaflet which had been pushed through his letterbox, to see if he could help.

“They welcomed me with open arms and sent me round the district, knocking on doors and inviting people to call up the number on a predetermined date.

“With the combined effort of the entire community, Sutton won the money, a magnificent sum of £49,990. The entire sum ultimately spent on a range of new brass instruments, percussion items, stands, music etc. The reward for my efforts came by way of an invitation – would I like to join the band? After inheriting a love of brass band music from my late father, how could I resist? At the tender age of 72 years I took up the challenge and in November 2013 went home with a trombone.

“ I’m not sure my wife would agree, the neighbours neither, but how glad am I that I did. It’s introduced me to whole collection of new friends, people in the community I might not otherwise have met and a host of accomplished musicians all willing to offer me help in my efforts to get a recognisable tune out of it.

“Fortunately the interest expressed a huge musical effort from a few dedicated local residents, most of whom had never picked up a brass instrument before, and has kept the band alive.

“We certainly wouldn’t be performing anywhere without the generous help of local Sutton man and accomplished brass band musician, Simon Watts.

“ From the very beginning, Simon has been an enormous help to the band, challenging us with his strict band discipline, supported by his quirky sense of humour, firmly refusing any payment for his valuable contribution.

“We also owe a debt of gratitude to one Jon Moreman, a former music teacher at Skipton Academy, who we engaged as a musical director to help the band get established.

“November 26, 2016 saw our second public performance, but the first for which we received payment . The organising committee of the Christmas Bazaar at St Thomas’ Church, Sutton-in-Craven considered we might be just good enough to entertain their visitors for an hour.

“We gratefully accepted their offer of free bacon sandwiches and a £25 donation. We look back on the opportunity with grateful thanks together with a firm undertaking; whatever heights we might reach in the brass band world, Sutton’s Got Brass will always have pleasure in accepting our £25 fee and playing at this event.

“Since that occasion, an Ilkley supermarket has twice welcomed us to bring some Christmas cheer to their store and for the last two years Skipton Town Council has granted us permission to play Christmas music in Sheep Street.

“In both these locations our collecting bucket has yielded precious funds enabling us to continue to fulfil our financial obligations.”