Despite the rather wet conditions, there was plenty of fine music making on show at the 3rd annual Blackburn & Darwen March & Hymn Tune Contest.
14 bands braved the elements to try and get their hands on the generous prize money on offer by impressing adjudicator Nicholas Garman (who was tucked up warm and dry in a small caravan).
Ashton under Lyne showed why they have become something of a force in these types of events, as they took the honours and the £700 first prize under MD Phil Chalk.
Their stirring rendition of 'The Wizard' march and the hymn tune 'Manchester' saw them beat off the challenge of Marsden Silver (who boosted their Cheltenham fund raising kitty by £400) with a delighted Third Section Eccleston (who bagged £300 in third overall. Section awards and £250 each went to Howrich RMI, Greenalls and Brindle.
There was appraise for all the competitors from the man who kept dry throughout the day, with Nicholas Garman congratulated everyone who took part in what were testing conditions to say the least.
"It says so much for all the bands that they entered into the spirit of the event despite the rain and still produced excellent performances.
This is a cracking event — and all that was missing this year was a bit of sunshine. The standard was very good, with some excellent solo playing on show. The winners in particular sounded a very classy band."
It says so much for all the bands that they entered into the spirit of the event despite the rain and still produced excellent performancesAdjudicator, Nicholas Garman
March/Hymn Tune = Overall
Adjudicator: Nicholas Garman
1. Ashton-Under-Lyne (Phil Chalk): 1/1 = 2
2. Marsden Silver Prize (Alan Widdop) 2/4 = 6
3. Eccleston (John Wood): 3/3 = 6
4. Horwich RMI (Matthew Ryan): 4/7 = 11
5. Greenalls (Danny Lowery): 6/5 = 11
6. Hawk Green (Neil Hewson): 9/2 = 11
7. Freckleton (Paul Dalton): 5/9 = 14
8. Besses Boys (James Holt): 8/8 = 16
9. Hoover Bolton (Craig Mann): 7/10 = 17
10. Farnworth & Walkden (Matt Shaw): 12/6 = 18
11. Brindle (Keith Richmond): 10/13 = 23
12. Lostock Hall (David Houghton): 11/12 = 23
13. Skelmersdale (James Hall): 13/11 = 24
14. Rivington & Adlington (Malcolm Wilson): 14/14 = 28
Best Soloist: Andy Pullin (solo cornet) — Eccleston
Youngest Player: Poppy Abbott (Brindle)
Second Section Winner: Horwich RMI
Third Section Winner: Greenalls
Fourth Section Winner: Brindle