A BRASS band will donate a concert to a church which faces closure within months, in a bid to keep it going a little bit longer.

Bearpark & Esh Colliery Band will perform a Proms-style concert at The Church of St Thomas, Stanley Crook, in County Durham, on Friday, October 15.

All funds raised will go towards running costs of the Grade II listed church, which is expected to shut next year due to a dwindling congregation and increasing financial pressures.

Parochial Church Council secretary Jonathan Kindleysides confirmed with “great sadness” that the church had become "unsustainable".

Read more: County Durham church faces closure after Covid pandemic

Informal consultation with the Church Commissioners about its possible closure in early 2022 is underway.

Since the announcement that the church on the hill, as it is known locally, faces closure the community has done some fundraising to keep it open in the short-term.

And one of its closest 'friends', Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band, was keen to show its support.

Members of the band, a Section 2 band which has enjoyed success at the brass band National Championships in recent years, offered to put on a fundraising show.

Chair of the band, Lindsey Rowell, said: "We've got a long relationship with the church, we've held many concerts there over the last ten or so years including a regular Christmas concert with Crook and Weardale Choral Society.

"We usually share the proceeds but wanted to donate this concert to help the church, to hopefully keep it going a little longer.

"The band needs to raise a lot of money each year, for things like instrument insurance and to run the band hall at Esh Winning, and St Thomas has been a small part of that bigger picture for some time.

"We've got a nice following there and hope people will be pleased to come and see us, we'll have a mix of traditional, slow music and film, pop and Proms tracks with the flags and hats out.

"It will be our first indoor concert since the first lockdown last March so it is nice to be rehearsing together for something special."

Mr Kindleysides said: "There has been a long relationship between the church and band and we're really grateful for then donating this concert.

"I think we're past 'if' the church will close but not 'when', we'll make it into 2022 and these funds will help."

Tickets for the concert are £5 on the door, doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.


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