BRASS bands from across the region battled it out for the chance to represent the North at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

The North of England Brass Band Championships was held in the Central Hall at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre over the weekend and attracted 39 bands from as far south as Humberside and up to the Scottish Borders.

The County Durham-based Reg Vardy Band claimed the championship crown, ahead of runners-up The East Yorkshire Motor Services Band, from Hull, and will now go on the represent the North at the national finals in London on October 12.

Tony Griffiths, regional secretary for the Championships, said that the difficulty of the test pieces had reduced the number of entrants from the 46 that performed last year and he praised the standard of musicianship on display.

He added: “It has gone well and we have found that the reception that we have had from the public has been really very good.

“The footfall in and out of the centre has been excellent, even on the Saturday which is traditionally the quieter day.

“For the actual competition, the adjudicators have remarked that the standard of playing has been very good this year, especially in the lower sections.”