A DOCTOR with a passion for brass band music set up a £300,000 trust for a competition to be held in the region, and the first contest will be in July.

Dr Ian Martin, from Darlington, upheld a tradition dating back to the First World War when each year he allowed Cockerton Prize Silver Band to serenade him with carols on Christmas Day, in his home.

When he died in 2006, the band was shocked to discover that he had left £300,000 in trust for an annual contest attracting worldclass bands.

A condition of the trust deed is that at least one trustee must be from Cockerton Band’s executive committee.

This year, The Wainstone’s Cup – named after Dr Martin’s home in Carmel Road, Darlington – will have its inaugural competition as part of the Durham Brass festival at the Gala Theatre, Durham City, on July 17.

In future years, it is hoped the competition will be hosted in Darlington.

Dr Martin moved to his house in the early Seventies and was surprised to learn of the unusual tradition, which was thought to date back to 1914.

Each year, on Christmas Day, he would welcome the band and reward them with a drink and mince pies and a small donation.

The band had no idea of the bequest and part of the stipulation was that Cockerton Band would always be associated with the competition.

The band’s name will be engraved upon the Wainstone’s Cup as its first winners.

John Steel, from Cockerton Band, who is also the spokesman and trustee of the Dr Martin Trust, said he was delighted that the band would be associated with the competition.

He said: “This is almost certainly the one and only time in Cockerton Band’s history that its name will feature on a worldclass trophy.

“This bequest came out of the blue and we found the unexpected prospect of organising a worldclass competition somewhat daunting.”

The trust has been organised so Cockerton band cannot benefit directly from the competition.

However, it is raising £7,000 to refurbish its band room and also needs new uniforms to compete as the second section Northern regional champions in the national finals, in Harrowgate, in September.

Only championship section bands can enter The Wainstone’s Cup and there is a limit of 15 entrants.

The winning band will receive £4,000 and there will be prizes of £2,000 and £1,000 for second and third places.

There will also be prizes for best solo and best march.

Go to doctormartintrust.com