A GROUP of talented young musicians is enjoying a tour of America after raising £60,000 to make the trip a reality.

Members of Smithills School Senior Brass Band successfully combined music rehearsals, lessons and homework with fundraising to pay for the trip to North Carolina.

The internationally acclaimed and award-winning band has already gone down a storm as the series of eight concerts got under way at Shelby Middle School last week.

Chris Wormald, assistant headteacher and senior band director, and more than 50 pupils, aged between 11 and 18, left Manchester Airport last Tuesday and will return on Friday.

Mr Wormald sent a message home following the first concert which read: “Sensational opening concert, unbelievable standard, fantastic audience, brilliant evening. Couldn’t be more proud.”

Earlier in the day, the band received the key to the city of Shelby, presented to Mr Wormald and the band by mayor Stan Anthony.

Representing Bolton in North Carolina, the band will also play concerts in Raleigh, Kernersville, High Point, Winston-Salem, Rutherford-ton, Thomasville and Gastonia.

The band was invited to undertake the 10-night tour in North Carolina following four previous visits to the United States — in 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2012 — where they were greeted with rapturous applause and played to capacity audiences.

Gerry Russell, chairman of the fundraising group and school governor, said: “They are overjoyed at reaching their target and so, on Tuesday morning, boarded the coach at school to head off to Manchester Airport knowing they had raised enough money to be able to fulfil their dream.”

The money was raised thanks to concerts, performances at weddings and events, supermarket bag packing, craft fairs, table-top sales and a race night.