A PIANO worth £43,000 made a grand entrance when it arrived at its new home this week.

The Steinway Model B instrument was delivered to Auckland Castle, the concert venue of its proud new owner Bishop Auckland Music Society.

But the procedure of getting the piano into the Throne Room was far from simple - as it took seven men more than two hours to complete.

Priceless objects of historical value had to be moved out of the way as the operation to manoeuvre its predecessor, a 9ft Danemann, out of the concert room took place.

The 7ft, half-ton instrument was then lifted into place by the removal specialists, who had to avoid contact with the castle's precious interior.

John Foulds, chairman of Bishop Auckland Music Society, said: "The Throne Room at Auckland Castle is an ideal venue for classical music, with its excellent acoustics.

"The only problem that the society had was the old piano was too old and unsuitable for the concert hall, and not to the high standards our performers would expect."

The society holds monthly concerts during the summer and a special Christmas concert, so the piano may also be used by young and experienced musicians in workshops and master classes.

It also got grants of £24,000 from Northern Arts Regional Arts Lottery Fund and £15,000 from the Foundation for Sports and Arts.

The remaining funds were raised by the music society, helped by a £200 grant from Wear Valley District Council.

Mr Foulds said: "There was no chance that a small society like ourselves could afford the grand sum expected to purchase a Steinway piano, so we are grateful for the regional Arts Lottery Programme and Foundation for Sports and the Arts for their sizeable contributions."