A MARCHING band that came close to folding in 2009 after a shortage of members has turned its fortunes around and reached the 2011 World Championship finals in Wales.
Blyth Hearts Marching Display Band was formed in 1981 and collected a number of honours over the years.
But in October 2009, 28 of the 34 members left and a decision had to be made to either keep the band going or bring it to an end.
The decision was made to keep going, and the return of former trainer Gladys Patterson proved to be the turning point.
She immediately set about rebuilding the band and undertook a recruitment drive.
And in time they were ready to once again compete.
Band leader Alan Davison said: “It was decided that we would turn out for our first competition on June 5 after a 19-month lay-off.
“Many people in the jazz band world thought we would never be a top band again, but the band came second.
“After that we have won every week to date, to the point that the band has reached the World Championship finals be held in Merthyr Tydfil on August 28.
“For this I must give praise and thanks to all members for their dedication and for achieving the unthinkable, and my appreciation goes out to Gladys and Ryan for making me so proud of my band once again.”
To help keep the band going members have taken part in bag packs, raffle and bingo nights to raise money to cover their costs, including hall hire for rehearsals, their coach and the uniforms that they wear.