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Blue plaque marks pioneering spirit in Consett

140 years of Salvation Army music making in Consett has been marked with the presentation of a blue heritage plaque to hang on the wall of their headquarters.

Conbsertt
  The Blue Heritage plaque marks the 140 years of musical contribution made by the band

The Salvation Army's first church brass band has been awarded a blue heritage plaque from Durham County Council.

It now hangs proudly of the Consett Band Salvation Army Hall and celebrates the formation of the band in 1879.

The official anniversary date was in December and was marked by the unveiling by the Lord Lieutenant of Co Durham awarded in association with the county's Cultural Partnership.

All began

Communications Officer, Claire Anderson told 4BR: "The Salvation Army is known throughout the world for using brass bands in worship services and outdoor marches — and it all began in Co Durham.

Local man Ned Lennox was inspired by the Fry family of musicians who accompanied the church's founder, General William Booth, on his evangelism tours of the UK. Ned decided to teach some of the Consett Salvation Army church members to play from his home which became a hive of musical activity for the early band practices

Today, musicians in the band come from a variety of backgrounds, including students, retirees, teachers, mortgage advisers and even a police inspector. However, the message and mission of the band is unchanged."

Future

Speaking about the event, Bandmaster, Phil Baker told 4BR: "Consett Salvation Army has much to celebrate in its heritage, yet we are focused on the future and how we continue to bring a message of hope to everyone we meet.

The band has been very much a part of community life since it first played carols in the town 140 years ago.

Our musicians have been alongside people during the good times and the tougher moments."

The band has been very much a part of community life since it first played carols in the town 140 years agoBandmaster, Phil Baker

Vital presence

The historic band has faced adversity itself — from complaints about playing outdoors in the earliest days, to the closure of the local steelworks in recent years.

However, the band remains a vital presence in the Consett community and takes part in a myriad of events and taking their Christian music and teaching to other towns and cities.

The band has recorded a CD, whilst their former bandmaster, Jeff Baker, was awarded the British Empire Medal for Services to the Community in the New Year Honours list.

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