A RYEDALE band is part of a national campaign launched to save the many UK brass bands which are struggling to survive through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Swinton and District Excelsior Brass Band is raising funds as part of the initiative by Brass Bands England to help prevent brass bands disappearing altogether.

Stephen Popham, secretary of Swinton Brass Band, said: “We have our own band room which means our summer concerts pay all our ‘normal’ bills.

“Now our other biggest earner Christmas playing is also in jeopardy, we are asking for our local surrounding areas to help us raise the money to save our band.”

Swinton was formed in 1936 by a group of ex-bandsmen who lived in the village and wished to resume their musical activities.

Since then the band has progressed and grown to about 30 members in our main band, as well as 20-plus training band with members aged from seven to 87.

Stephan said the band offered free lessons and instrument loan, so its only income is from concerts, Christmas and donations.

“Unfortunately due to the current pandemic the band has not performed in the 2020 concert season, our rehearsing came to an abrupt stop when we were actually on the bus on the way to our area competition in Durham on March 15,” he added.

“Our brass band risks not being able to continue because to be coronavirus safe we can’t use our own band room, so while paying all the day to day bills there we are also paying out weekly to use a local venue to accommodate the main band and a different one with multiple rooms to be able to teach our training band.

“To be able to resume rehearsals in our band room we will need to make the venue Covid secure as it is not big enough to socially distance.

“We don’t want to be another Covid statistic and we hope to be able to be back in full flow providing our community with entertainment very soon.”

To donate, go to crowdfunder.co.uk/saveswintonband