It has been announced that Scottish champion, the cooperation band, will not compete at the National Championship of Great Britain Final at the Royal Albert Hall next month.
In an official press release they stated: "After much discussion within the cooperation band management team and with the band members, the cooperation band, have decided not to take part in this year's National Championship final in London.
The band management's first priority is the safety of the band members and the current COVID situation, which is getting worse by the day in Scotland and the rest of the UK, and the risks associated with travelling and taking part in the event as well as the financial risks are all too great for us to expose the band and its members too."
The decision marks the latest Scottish withdrawal from the National Championships — with just three Scottish bands travelling south to Cheltenham later this month to compete at that event.
However, Scotland will still represented at the Albert Hall by Whitburn (who gained an automatic invitation following their podium finish at the 2019 contest) and Bon Accord Silver, the runner-up at the 2020 Scottish Championship.
Given the time frame involved 4BR understands that no invitation will be issued to a replacement band.
The cooperation band do appreciate that it would be great to get back to some normality in life and return to banding as we all have known it. But at this time, we don't think it is safe enoughthe cooperation band
The band was to have been conducted by Phillip McCann who last week posted on his Facebook social media page that he had been informed of the decision and that "for reasons I understand"had "found it necessary to withdraw from the contest".
The band press release added: "The cooperation band do appreciate that it would be great to get back to some normality in life and return to banding as we all have known it. But at this time, we don't think it is safe enough.
Ideally, we would have preferred for the event to postponed until times were safer, or even cancelled, giving all bands the chance to rebuild and regroup without any pressures but again we are not organisers of events such as this!"
They concluded: "We have timescales to keep to without incurring financial penalties hence the reason for having to decide at this time.
The band look forward to returning to the Albert Hall next year, (assuming we qualify) and taking part in what is a truly wonderful event. Hopefully the COVID-19 situation will have eased by then."