A CALL has been issued to help stop a brass band which was formed in the 19th century from disbanding.

The Basingstoke Silver Band was formed in 1898, but is now dangerously close to closing due to a lack of members.

The brass band currently only has five full-time members, and has had to merge with a training band in order to play at its most recent events.

The membership has seen a steady decline over the years, but most noticeably over the past five years as people have retired or left the area.

When club secretary Marilyn Harvey joined the band in 1998, there were many more members.

Marilyn said: “When I joined, there were at least 30 people in the band, and we have seen a significant drop since then.

“While the membership has gone up and down before, it has never been this low.

“Even though we can play with five members. we don’t have any cornet or bass instrument players in the band at the moment.”

The band has held a special place in the heart of the trombonist from Alton.

Marilyn added: “We really don’t want to let it die, it would be a real shame to let the band die completely.

“There is something really special about making music with others like this that you can’t really get anywhere else, except perhaps with a choir.

“In order to play at our most recent gigs, including those over Christmas, we’ve had to borrow players from other areas, and we really want to be able to play without having to do that.”

A prospective player can be anyone, even those with no previous musical experience or people who have not played for a while. Instruments and tuition can be provided by the band, which rehearses at Elizabeth Hall, in Hook, on Friday evenings.

For more information or to join, call Marilyn on 01420 82646 or e-mail bsbsec@hotmail.co.uk.