Band loses ticket to ride

TALENTED musicians from Woodbridge spent five months raising £3,000 to pay for the cost of appearing in a prestigious national competition final – but it is now under threat.

TALENTED musicians from Woodbridge spent five months raising £3,000 to pay for the cost of appearing in a prestigious national competition final – but it is now under threat.

Members of the Woodbridge Excelsior Band gave concerts and busked to bring in cash. They asked for grants and their relatives and supporters rallied round to find money.

They then spent countless hours rehearsing to perform in Scotland in September in the Boosey and Hawkes national brass band championships in Dundee.

The event was due to be the greatest day in the band's 157-year history – but now the musicians are in danger of losing the trip after the collapse of a coach company hired to take them on the 1,000-mile round journey.


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The band are now making an urgent appeal to raise another £1,000 for a coach after they lost the booking with the Happy Wanderer Tours Ltd.

The bus company is a subsidiary of Leiston Motor Hire Ltd. The small family-run business has gone into liquidation and the workforce has been laid off.

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Woodbridge Excelsior Band had already paid and booked a coach to take up to 40 musicians, relatives and friends to Scotland.

Stuart Whiteley, band president, said: "We are sad at what has happened and losing the money which has been contributed by other folk. It is no fault of the band's that we have lost just over £1,000.

"We have to raise between £2,000 and £3,000 a year for the normal running costs of the band and then we had to raise extra to appear in this final. People had been jolly good but now we are in a dilemma for we have to raise £1,000 again."

Mr Whiteley added the band was unable to stage a fund raising concert at such short notice when it was rehearsing for the final. The band, which will perform Eric Ball's The Call of the Sea, is one of only three bands representing the south east of England on September 19 and 20.

Mr Whiteley will attend the creditors' meeting at The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Ipswich, on September 2. Liquidator Steven Law, of Ensors, has warned the majority of people who have paid for trips would lose their money.

Anyone who can help should contact band secretary Sara Norris on 01394 385749. She said: ''I have been one of the people that has tried to rally support in the town - we were devastated by the blow about the coach company.''

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