A marching band could fold at the end of this year unless it can attract new members.
The Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers, which has been running since 1936, has seen its numbers dwindle from about 30-40 five years ago to 17 currently. Worryingly those numbers compare to about 75 members in the mid 1990s.
The band, who practice in their band room at the rear of the Wilton Road car park on Monday nights (7pm-9pm) give youngsters the chance to learn how to play musical instruments and to travel around the country taking part in marching and street parades, arena displays and competitions.
Band secretary Bryan Gordon said: “As members get older, and with some going to university, we’ve seen a steady decline. I fear we could fold unless we can attract new members by the end of this year.
“It would be such a shame if we had to finish because we’ve been going for so long and we take Melton’s name with us all around the country.”
The band, whose current members range in age from 12-69, teach newcomers (aged eight plus) how to play a range of instruments, which are all provided, and how to march. Uniforms are also provided.
Bryan said: “They can come in not knowing what a trumpet looks like! We’ll have them playing within six months.”
The band is desperately in need of a drum major, something they haven’t had for two years, as well as brass instrument players.
To join the band costs just 50p per week as subscription.
Bryan added: “Anyone interested can come along to one of our practice nights, without any obligation at all, to have a go on an instrument. We don’t force them to stay and their family and friends are welcome to come along too.
“We’ve got our own band room, a social club with a bar and our own coach. It’s like a club where you can get to know people. In a way we also help people keep fit as we do quite a lot of marching.”
l To find out more pop along to a practice night, call Bryan on (01664) 854196 or visit www.meltonmowbraytoysoldiers.co.uk