There was extra great news for Easington Colliery Band following their success in winning the top section of the Bolsover Festival of Brass contest on the weekend.
Michael Watt, the co-owner of the iconic Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, confirmed that he will continue his sponsorship and support of the band into the future.
Heart of community
The New Zealand entrepreneur, who spends his working life between the UK, Ireland and his homeland has been a proactive follower of the band's progress in recent years.
Through his advice and financial assistance, they have been able to build for the future within the heart of their local community by refurbishing the old colliery pay office, creating a larger rehearsal space with adjoining classrooms and launching a community cafe.
He is now looking forward to visiting Easington again in the near future and seeing the new bandroom and the facilities for himself.
Band spokesperson Peter Lawson told 4BR: "Michael rang me last week wishing the band luck for the forthcoming Bolsover Festival of Brass. He also told me to let the band know that he wanted to guarantee the future of the band by continuing his sponsorship for many more years.
I was so glad to call him on Monday morning to let him know of our victory in the competition and he was so pleased and proud of us."
I was so glad to call him on Monday morning to let him know of our victory in the competition and he was so pleased and proud of usPeter Lawson
The next phase of Easington's long term plans is already under way with the formation of a junior section and music academy to serve the local area — one which has encountered severe social and economic problems since the closure of its colliery.
Peter added: "Things are looking more prosperous these days and the local councillors, David Boyes and Angela Surtees, have been instrumental in bringing about some degree of prosperity back to the area.
There is still a long way to go but the signs are there, and tourism is on the increase, particularly visitors to the local nature reserves, beaches and the England Coast Path which passes within 200 yards of the bandroom as well as the Billy Elliott fans who still walk around the streets opposite the bandroom taking in the many sights where the movie was filmed over 20 years ago.
Now though they will be able to stop off and enjoy the band too."