South Bank Brass Band could close as membership dwindles

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Media captionMembers of Middlesbrough's South Bank band said they do not have enough members.

Members of 150-year-old Teesside brass band say they will be forced to split up unless they recruit new members.

South Bank Brass Band in Middlesbrough was set up in the 1860s for the town's steel workers.

The band says it is the only survivor of four similar bands set up locally in the 19th Century. Membership has dwindled recently from 25 to 13.

Tenor horn player Frank Bowman said members had either died, moved away or lost interest.

Mr Bowman said: "The first recording of the band was made in 1877 when it took part in a competition - it has a lot of history.

"We are the only remaining band of four that were set up all those years ago for the iron and steel industry.

"But some nights we have to practise without a conductor and this has an effect - I would be bitterly disappointed if the band went out of existence."

Image caption This picture of the band's young and older members is about 100-years old

Newest recruit and trumpet player Kate Bulman joined two years ago.

She said: "I recently left for 10 months to have a baby and when I came back the difference in the band was quite sad.

"There are a lot fewer people and I would hate to be part of the generation associated with it when it failed."

Fellow band member Brian Dinning said: "We find ourselves down to 13 or 14 when we should be about 25. We've tried really hard to recruit, but for whatever reason we've failed."

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