A WATFORD band has successfully beaten off competition from 22 other ensembles to reach the finals of the British National Brass Band Championships.

The group's rendition of Anglian Dances by Alan Fernie was good enough to place them fourth over all in the regional heat on Sunday.

They will now compete against the best bands in the country at the finals, which will take place in Harrogate in September.

The band's achievement is all the more satisfying as three years ago it only had six members, despite having been in existence for more than a century.

Then a new musical director, Martyn France, took over and started recruiting.

Now the band has more than 30 musicians, aged between ten and 80, and is going from strength to strength.

Solo Baritone, Alan Pearce, who has played with the band for two years, said: "Most of the musicians come from the Watford area.

"I have personally been involved in going round to schools to get youngsters involved.

"We have two now playing with the band who have both now got grade four.

"We're all totally chuffed with the result."

The band is also a registered charity, raising on average £1,000 a year for good causes.

The band's next concert will be on Saturday, April 22, at the Lincolnsfield Centre in Bushey Hall Drive, Bushey.

For further information about the concert, joining the band or donating money to charity through the band, log onto www.watfordband.org.uk.