Cash boost for threatened South Yorkshire brass band

Grimethorpe Colliery Band member Jim Fletcher and Plusnet Commercial Director Nick Rawlings playing with pupils at Birkwood Primary School in Cudworth.
Grimethorpe Colliery Band member Jim Fletcher and Plusnet Commercial Director Nick Rawlings playing with pupils at Birkwood Primary School in Cudworth.
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A BAND brassed off over its uncertain future has been awarded funding to secure its educational music programme.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band – made famous by the 1996 film Brassed Off – has an uncertain long-term future after its main sponsor went bust.

The band, formed in 1917, relied on funding from a private mining firm after the closure of the pit 20 years ago, but the sponsor went bust in 2011 forcing the band to perform private functions to generate enough cash to continue.

But members said the 62 concerts performed last year to cover running costs and community and educational work was impossible to maintain – prompting fears the band may fold.

But its education work has been secured thanks to a donation from phone and internet provider Plusnet, which has agreed to provide funding for the next two years.

To celebrate the band visited Birkwood Primary School in Cudworth, Barnsley, to take part in a music lesson.

The funds will be used to pay for 15 Birkwood pupils between aged eight to 11 to take music lessons.

School music co-ordinator Esther Sutton Smith said: “Grimethorpe Colliery Band has made a massive impact on our little school – almost every day the band’s name is mentioned positively in and around Birkwood’s community. The band should be very proud of the difference they are making to their local area.”

Nick Rawlings, Commercial Director of Plusnet, said: “This is clearly an issue very close to the hearts of a lot of people and we are proud to provide help for a special project that brings such a valued service to its community.”

Grimethorpe Colliery Band manager Nigel Dixon said: “Our funding cuts are having a very serious impact on what activities the band can do, and if it wasn’t for Plusnet we would not be able to provide such a key education tool for local children.

“We are so grateful for this support. Plusnet has shown itself to be a champion of the community.”