A BLUE heritage plaque has been unveiled to mark the location of the oldest Salvation Army Band in the world.

It was four musical steelworkers who started the Consett Citadel Band in December 1879.

The bandmaster then was Ned Lennox and he was joined by George Storey, James Simpson and Robert Greenwood with their first gigs on the town’s streets that Christmas.

On Saturday, at the citadel on Sherburn Terrace, the Durham County Council plaque was unveiled by Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon.

Jeff Baker, a retired bandmaster, said: “It is something the area can be very proud of and we have got a great relationship with the community.”

The unveiling of the plaque follows two years of work by Mel Soulsby and marks the band’s 140th anniversary.

Durham County Councillor Alex Watson said: “It is extremely important for the Salvation Army and for the people of Consett.

“We are talking about a celebration of the first Salvation Army Band in the world.

“They are very well respected and well thought of.

“People on Saturday were overjoyed.

“We had the Lord Lieutenant there and she has connections with the Salvation Army so it went down very well.

“Everyone spoke with glowing praise of the band and to have a celebration of this nature was absolutely fantastic.”