Musicians seek £4,000 car park cash

The Oxford Times: Chairman of the band, Eleanor Turner Buy this photo » Chairman of the band, Eleanor Turner

MUSICIANS have banded together in a bid to raise more than £4,000 for a new car park.

The 150-person strong Wantage Silver Band has been playing Christmas carols around the town almost every day since December 1 to raise cash.

The band moved into its first permanent home on Tugwell Field in March after a decade of raising the £270,000 funds they needed.

Now the band members are raising more money to turn the muddy land used as a car park, shared with Wantage Town Junior Football Club, into a proper 35-space gravel car park.

They have already secured £4,486 from a Vale of White Horse District Council grant and are calling for donations to help them raise the same again.

Band chairwoman Eleanor Turner, 69, said: “At the moment the car park is just mud. It is marked out but not surfaced yet.

“The main problem is the mud. We now have a nice new band hall and people have to be careful to wipe their feet properly to keep it nice inside.

“Some of our players also have pretty heavy instruments, like the basses, and have to wheel their instruments in, which isn’t easy in the mud.”

The group, which is a charity, plays regularly around the town around Christmas every year to raise running costs and fundraise for projects.

Last year, it raised more than £7,000 to go towards costs such as new instruments and bills.

It is hoping to build its new car park in early 2014.

The band, which formed in 1972 for a handful of children, now runs six bands.

It is also launching a new Saturday beginner’s band on January 4 for adults and children aged seven and above.

Bandmaster of 30 years Eileen Sykes, 70 from Belmont, said: “It is a lovely hobby.

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“You make lots of friends and learn to read music, and we provide the instruments.

“But the car park is in desperate need of fixing.

“It is our priority at the moment. Because of the rain, it is all potholes and mud.”

For information on joining the new beginners’ band, call Ms Sykes on 01235 767541.

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