THE Hatherleigh and Northlew training brass band entered the 73rd South West Brass Band Association competition, at the Riviera Centre in Torquay.

It was a major step for a band that formed about a year ago and most of the current players are only six months into their playing career. The band isn’t just for the younger generation, mothers and retirees have also joined the ranks learning to play brass instruments, but it is mainly about the children and they were brilliant.

Training band founder and bandmaster Tim Williams said: “The day itself happened to be the Rugby World Cup final day so most of us arrived very early in Torquay to see England battle in vain against the Boks before gathering in the holding area before our performance.

“The set-up was exactly the same as for the West of England finals so was an amazing experience for the youngsters.”

Onto the big stage with all the bright lights and expectant crowd and the band played three pieces, ‘Fanfare for an Occasion’, the hymn ‘Lloyd’ and the finale, a catchy number ‘A Grand Grand Waltz’ with Adrian Edwards conducting.

The performance was met by rapturous applause, the audience and adjudicators understanding the importance of getting new blood playing brass instruments as well as being impressed by the confident and clean playing.

Tim said: “It was a brave move entering the contest so early in the training bands life, but with an amazing team of dedicated helpers from the main band and Adrian Edwards agreeing to conduct I hoped we’d be able to put in a half decent performance. The reality was so much better than any of us could have hoped for and the band, both young not so young and quite old performed brilliantly and quite rightly should be incredibly proud of their achievement.

“My biggest takeaway was the complete lack of fear from our younger members, some of whom had been playing for less than six months, and that they wouldn’t stop smiling and laughing (except when playing), truly inspirational!”

He added: “To top the day off we won a prize, The Mayers and Harrison Cup, for coming third in the training band section — so on the day we did better than England!

“Congratulations to all who took part and to the helpers and parents and relatives who ferry people to practices every week, a truly impressive result for all.”

For anyone of any age who is interested in learning to play a brass instrument get in touch with the Hatherleigh and Northlew training brass band. The practice night is Monday at 6pm in Hatherleigh. Contact Tim on 07770 600047.