ONE of the oldest brass bands in the world has been robbed of the chance to win national championship status because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eagley Brass Band had made it through to the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain ­— a notoriously difficult competition to qualify for.

But now the band's dream of winning the title in its 170 year has been dashed after organisers announced the September contest had been cancelled and not postponed, has had been hoped.

Musical director and well-known musician Chris Wormald said he was "gutted" for the band, the town and all those who "had worked so hard to get Eagley Band" to where it is today.

He said: "2020 is Eagley Band’s 170th anniversary year having been formed way back in the winter of 1850 and therefore one of the oldest brass bands in the world.

" Each and every year it is extremely difficult to qualify for the National Brass Championship Finals of Great Britain as the only way to do this is to play superbly in the spring regional area contests and be judged by the adjudicators to have finished in the top three places at the Blackpool Opera House and Winter Gardens complex in February.

"This year, Eagley accomplished this feat to the delight and thrill of all the players and myself.. "Within hours of the results being announced a top quality hotel in Cheltenham was booked, a luxury band coach was booked, everything was organised and the set test piece bought on the day that the title was announced.

"As we all know, the world changed completely by mid-March and the pandemic has now officially robbed Eagley Band and all of the other excited finalists throughout the UK of the opportunity to become National Champions of Great Britain in September."

He added:" It remains to be seen how the 2021 brass band contesting season will now pan out and how all of the many complex issues of promotion and relegation will take effect."