One of the north-east's most evocative banding names has been forced to take the heartbreaking decision to close its rehearsal doors for the final time.
Murton Colliery Band was initially formed as the Murton Gospel Temperance Blue Ribbon Army Band in 1884, later taking on the name of the local colliery in 1895 — an association that was proudly maintained until the colliery closed in 1991.
From that time they became a self-supporting organisation, but during the past two years they have found difficulty recruiting and retaining players.
History of success
As recently as 2016 the band won the Section B title at the open-air Beamish Contest and competed in the Third Section at the North of England Regional Championship in March this year, coming fifth.
They last represented the region at the National Finals in 2008 and won the National Mineworkers Championship title in 2001. They were North of England Fourth Section Regional Champion in 1974, 1983 and 1997 and first enjoyed contest success as far back as 1893.
It's become increasing difficult for the band to continue with the decline in numbers, and the committee and trustees of have come to the painful decision that Murton Colliery Band is to foldMurton Colliery
A spokesperson told 4BR: "Unfortunately we've been struggling with the numbers of players coming through the doors and we have lost a number during the past two years.
It's become increasing difficult for the band to continue with the decline in numbers, and the committee and trustees of have come to the painful decision that Murton Colliery Band is to fold.
This is a decision that has not been taken lightly."
They added: "The band and committee would like to thank all players past and present for everything they have done for the band and also thank everyone who had helped us over the years."