CELEBRATING 135 years of band playing is a wonderful achievement but, for the Woodfalls Band, 2009 may also be the year it has to close its doors forever.

Sadly, in January, the band lost the sponsorship, after 14 years, of South West Trains.

Brian Easterbrook, band secretary, said: “It was not renewed due to the financial climate, but we are extremely grateful to South West Trains for all their years of sponsorship, and I know they always felt they had good value. We spread good news around the community.”

Mr Easterbrook said the band now urgently needs to raise £3,000 in the next few months.

It is putting on a fundraising concert in Salisbury Cathedral on September 5, but still needs regular sponsorship.

The band was founded in 1874 as a Methodist chapel band. Although it is now independent of the chapel, it continues to rehearse in the schoolroom next door, which it now owns.

While contesting and performing have became its lifeblood, the band also runs a highly successful junior and intermediate band.

The band has made more than ten appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, and five appearances in the British Open. The band also plays annually at the Remembrance Day concert held at Salisbury’s City Hall.

“We are still very much an amateur village brass band, but of a very high standard. All the money we raise goes directly towards the band. But to maintain our high standard and attract the best players, we need funds. It is 13 years since we purchased a new instrument and some are getting a bit ragged round the edges,” said Mr Easterbrook.

Mr Easterbrook has secured international trumpet player Crispian Steele-Perkins to guest solo at the fundraising concert. He will perform Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto to a brass band arrangement.

The Journal is adding its backing to the Woodfalls Band by supporting the concert in the cathedral in September (full details will appear in Journal entertainments in the next few weeks).

Bill Browne, editor and publisher of Salisbury Newspapers, said: “I am pleased to say that, for one night only, it will be the Journal’s Woodfalls Band. It is important in these troubled economic times to do what we can to preserve groups and organisations who have brought an added quality to our lives. The Woodfalls Band has been part of the musical fabric in the region for more than a century, and I am delighted we are able to help in this small way.”

Tickets for the concert are available from the Playhouse box office (01722 320333), and Mr Easterbrook can be contacted on 01722 710074.