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ARTICLES

 

2004 North West Regional Championships

4BR casts it eye over the runners and rider of the North West Regional Championships, which takes place on the 14th March.


North West Regional Qualifying Contest

Winter Gardens
Blackpool

Sunday 14th March

Championship: 2.00pm (Opera House)
First: 10.30am (Opera House)
Second: 2.30pm (Empress Ballroom)
Third: 10.00am (Empress Ballroom)
Fourth: 11.30am (Spanish Hall)

Tickets: £7.00, £4.00 (Concession)
Programme: £2.00

For further details:
Peter Bates, Regional Secretary, 643A Liverpool Road, Peel Green, Eccles, Manchester. M30 7BY
Tel: 0161 7073638

Introduction:

As we have said many a time before, if Yorkshire is the heartland of the brass banding movement, then Lancashire is without doubt the rest of the vital organs. Those bands in the White Rose County may boast of being the best, but for the last few years in particular, the Red Rose outfits west of the Pennine Way have been the dominant contesting force, not only in the top section, but also in the lower sections as well.

Fairey FP (Music) is the double National Champions, whilst Leyland is the current All England Masters. Further down, Diggle in the third section and Wardle and District Anderson Brass in the fourth were declared National Champions in Dundee, whilst they could also boast 2nd and 3rd place in the First Section, 2nd place in the Second, 2nd place in the Third and 3rd place in the Fourth. That is some strength in depth isn’t it?

With 75 bands making it to the contest stage here this year, that strength is on the up once more as well, and although it hasn’t reached the high of the 80 bands of 1990, it is a healthy state of affairs.

Unlike anywhere else either, the North West bands like to get things over and done with pretty sharply as well, with the contest taking place on the one day in the faded splendour of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The Opera House houses the top two sections, whilst the Empress Ballroom has the Second and Third. The Fourth Section bands have the small Spanish Hall, complete with its surreal decorations of the Spanish Plain.

The one thing that does tend to grate here though, is the fact that the top bands are not given the opportunity to help the lower sections by not competing and giving a concert to raise money for those long trips away. It would be great to see Fairey’s raising money for other bands – making them go through a pointless qualification process when they are hoping to make it a hat trick later this year seems absurd.

It may be cold, wet and windy at this time of year there, but on Sunday there will still be some smiling faces celebrating up the Golden Mile. There is a lot of pride in the North West about their banding, and it is at the moment, totally justified.

Number of competing bands:

2003: 75
2002: 74
2001: 70
2000: 77
1999: 73
1998: 68
1997: 68
1996: 68
1995: 68

Other Years:

1990: 80
1989: 71
1987: 79
1986: 75
1985: 65
1983: 73

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