A BRASS band has been left in a predicament because the building in which they have rehearsed for more than 35 years faces closure.

Strata Brass Band, based in Hoyland, has been rehearsing at Hoyland Methodist Church on Duke Street.

The church has informed the band that it is considering closure next year, leaving the band in need of a new permanent home.

Strata Brass Band was founded in 1889 and over the years they have played under several different names, including the ‘Hoyland Rechabites’, ‘Cortonwood Colliery’, ‘Hoyland Town Ireland Alloys’, ‘Wards Brewery’ and ‘Weaver Building Group’ before adopting the current title.

Paul Wilkinson, who has been part of Strata Brass since he was nine, said he understood there were plans to merge Hoyland and Birdwell Methodist churches, although the Hoyland church has told the Chronicle no final decision has yet been reached and a formal process has to be followed.

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“I have been a member of the brass band for 54 years playing the cornet and we have been based at the Methodist Church for more than 35 years,” he said.

“We were notified that the church may be closing in September next year and it has come as a big shock to us all.

“We have been left in a situation where we have a library, equipment and instruments that need a new home.

“For us as a group it is not as simple as finding a new place to rehearse, we need a place where we can store our things permanently.

“It’s such a shame because we are well known in Hoyland and we have a loyal audience who support us which is fantastic because we’re not a sponsored band.

“We have no idea if there will be a building in Hoyland for us to move to and if we have to move further afield, we stand to lose our audience.”

Paul said: “We have 18 months to find another building that we can call home.

“It would be wonderful if we could stay in Hoyland, especially because it’s our heritage.

“We need a building with ample capacity to be able to store our equipment and library and we are willing to pay, so it will generate extra income for a church or community centre, or if we can find a working men’s club we will more than likely have a pint after rehearsal.

“We rehearse on Mondays and Wednesdays, and if we have a competition or concert, we may rehearse on a Friday and Sunday, but this is just as and when required.

“Please get in touch if you have somewhere for us to go. If we find the right place we will move immediately.”

Terry Hardy, chairman of the brass band, said: “We are very disappointed to have received this news.

“We have been renting the church building for nearly 40 years and in that time we have built strong local connections and as a band, we have progressed, especially in the band championship.

“We have a lot of good local connections and it will be sad to see this go, but it is a situation that is beyond our control.

“We are looking for a new building and we really hope that we can find a new home in Hoyland so we can continue doing what we are doing.

“The band must play on.”

Rev Mick Neal, the superintendent minister of the Barnsley Methodist Circuit, said it would be ‘inappropriate to comment’ as there is a process the Methodist church has to follow.

Anyone with a potential venue should contact Paul on 0114 221 3818.