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Doncaster band make it to national finals in Brassed Off style tale

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A Doncaster brass band hit the right note to qualify for a prestigious competition - just months after the death of their beloved conductor.

Hatfield Colliery Band will be flying the flag after making it through the Yorkshire Regional Championships with a blistering display at the weekend contest in Bradford.

And the victory, the first time the band have made it to the national finals for more than 10 years, was made even more poignant following the death of long serving musical director Graham O’Connor last December.

Band secretary Margaret Curran said: “Graham was with the band for over 20 years and we had tremendous success and good times with him. The band played out of their skins and this was our first contest since Graham passed away so it was very emotional. Everyone is absolutely over the moon.”

Hatfield’s success has shades of the hit movie Brassed Off where a fictional South Yorkshire band triumph against the odds at a national contest at the Royal Albert Hall, despite their conductor, played by Pete Postlethwaite, being hospitalised by a breathing condition.

The band’s flugel horn player Stan Lippeatt has taken up the baton following Mr O’Connor’s death and Hatfield members rallied behind him with a note perfect rendition of the Cry Of The Mountains, which all bands competing in Sunday’s contest at St George’s Hall had to play under the watchful eye of judges.

And they saw off the challenge of a string of other brass bands from across Yorkshire to land a spot at the national finals in Cheltenham in September. There was double joy when euphonium player Andrew Kennedy was named best soloist.

Margaret, who has been with Hatfield for 52 years, added: “This is the first time we have reached the nationals since winning at Dundee in 2003, so its very prestigious.

“Since Stan came in, the band have pulled together behind him.”

The Hatfield Town Council sponsored band will perform at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the start of the Miners Strike at The Broadway Hotel, Dunscroft, from 11am today.

 

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