A TREASURED 140-year-old brass band threatened with closure has 'reached a turning point' after its finances began to improve.

Wingates Band announced earlier this year that it would struggle to keep going beyond Christmas due to dwindling finances.

But following a successful appeal to residents and members of the business community, the band has said the future is 'starting to look more positive'.

Band member Melanie McFarland, marketing and PR manager, said the information was revealed during the group's annual general meeting on Tuesday.

She said: "It was with relief to hear that the fortunes of the band have reached a turning point and are starting to look more positive.

"Through the careful control of costs and, with a large measure of support generated by new initiatives, the band has started to rebuild the operating reserves necessary to ensure the financial stability and security of the organisation through the next few months.

"Although the band cannot be said to be safe, it is certainly in a better position to be quietly confident about its survival in the short term."

The band is now focusing on increasing its supporters club membership and attracting more businesses to its patronage scheme, as well as boosting audience numbers.

Ms McFarland added: "The band would like to sincerely thank all who have helped them so far, including advisors from local charities and network groups who have offered invaluable advice and support."

They also thanked members of the supporters’ club, their new business patrons and Steve Caunce, GeeTees and Blinds And Curtains by Nicola Jane, as well as residents Gary and Tracey Dixon, who set up a JustGiving page for Mr Dixon's 40th birthday in aid of Wingates Band and raised more than £1,100.

Ms McFarland said: "The band is definitely on the road to recovery but they have a long way to go with urgent band room repairs required and old equipment needing modern replacements soon."

Wingates Band will be holding its annual Christmas concert on Saturday, December 9 at the Victoria Hall.

Tickets are £10 and are free for under 16s.

They can be purchased from the Victoria Hall box office on 01204 522569.

For further details on how to support the band, contact Melanie McFarland on melanie@i88.co.uk or 07770587227.