Christmas comes early for Harrogate youth band after supermarket U-turn

A Harrogate supermarket has backtracked over its decision to refuse a youth brass band permission to perform over the festive period.

By Dan Windham
Sunday, 7th December 2014, 6:00 pm
Tewit Youth Band (s)
Tewit Youth Band (s)

However, last Christmas the youth brass band were informed that there was ‘no room’ for the 12 musicians to perform in the store, according to a decision from the Head Office.

Colin Gibbs, president of the Tewit Youth Brass Band said he had been ‘extremely disappointed at the decision’ and the prospect of missing out on an estimated £6,000 would cast doubt on the band’s future.

However, after a call from the Harrogate Advertiser, Marks and Spencers has now performed a U-turn on their decision and will welcome the band back into their store for December.

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A spokesperson for M&S said: “We are committed to working with our local community and look forward to welcoming Harrogate Band and Tewit Youth Band into store to celebrate the upcoming festivities.”

Marks and Spencers had originally said that they required the space in the store for stock and could only give their ‘full support’ to a few of their ‘chosen charities’ they had in place.

The spokesperson said the company ‘couldn’t always facilitate’ other charities, although maintained it was ‘important for them to work with the local community’, prompting their change of heart.

Mr Gibbs said: “We are a youth brass band with 85 young people from the ages of 6 to 19. We provide most of the instruments for the band members but we have to raise money so we play ourselves and do fundraising.

“We are a local group and the only independent youth band in Harrogate and we keep a lot of young people off the streets. The kids really enjoy it as well and our biggest problem was keeping the numbers down to 12.

“The shoppers enjoyed us playing quietly in the corner and people seem upset when we have to tell them we won’t be performing this year.”

Mr Gibbs said had Marks and Spencers not reversed their decision, the youth brass band would have been unable to afford as many instruments for the children and would not be able to afford a foreign tour for this year.

After Tewit Youth Brass Band received the positive news, Mr Gibbs said that the resolution was ‘excellent and made his day’ and that it was ‘quite a load off their minds’.

He said: “This excellent news means that we will be sorted for another year and I will have to tell the children the good news.”