HUNDREDS of music lovers listened as a dozen of the country's top brass bands battled for glory yesterday.

The TUC Brass in Concert Championships saw 11 British bands and one from Norway compete for the £2,000 first place prize and trophy at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, County Durham.

The winners were last year's runners-up, Fodens (Courtois), from the Peak District in Derbyshire.

The band's principal euphonium title winner, Glyn Williams, stunned the audience with a virtuoso performance, playing eight instruments.

The Leyland band came second, with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band - the inspiration for the hit film Brassed Off - in third place. Norwegian entrants from Stavanger took fourth place.

Grimethorpe also took home the trophies for quality of performance and the Cyril Beere Memorial Trophy for the best new composition or arrangement.

The Fodens Band conductor, Ray Farr, received the winning conductor's trophy.

Organiser Paul Beere said: "It's one of the major competitions in the country and obviously internationally, with the Stavanger band coming from Norway.

"The winning programmes will be broadcast on Radio 2, two to three weeks before Christmas."

The North-East region's entrants, Ever Ready, from Stanley, County Durham, won the prize for the neatest package of musical scores and notes.

Matthew Neville, 13, was awarded the trophy for youngest musician.

Other trophies went to Kirsty Abbot, for best principal cornetist, Besses O' Th' Barn, from Manchester, for best own choice march, Peter Smith for best solo, and Fodens for best entertainment and presentation