A FAMOUS Bolton brass band has qualified for a prestigious competition.

Wingates Brass Band attended the Grand Shield brass band competition at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and managed to come second after being drawn to play last out of the 20 bands.

At the event, Andy Macdonald, principal cornet player, took the award for overall best soloist.

The finishing position means that the band has qualified for the British Open brass band competition.

The 165th edition of the British Open will be held in the Birmingham Symphony Hall on Saturday, September 9 and is considered one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, with only the most elite bands having the chance to qualify. Wingates is just one of five North West bands taking part in this year’s contest.The band has been on an upwards trajectory since musical director Paul Andrews was appointed in 2013.

Last year it qualified for the National Finals of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall for the first time in 11 years and it has not qualified for the British Open since 1999.

Paul Andrews, musical director said: "We re all delighted with our success. Putting in football terms, it is the world cup of brass band competitions."

The band has a long history, forming in 1873 and was praised in the House of Commons when it celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2013. There is a chance to watch the famous band in action next month at the Bridge Church, Bradford Street, Bolton.

It will be performing a popstar to opera star themed programme from 7.30pm on Saturday, June 3. Tickets cost £8 and can be purchased on the door or via the band manager on 01925 837737