The Manx Concert Brass Band will compete with the UK’s top bands next year.

The band’s recent performances, including third at the North West Regional Championships in Blackpool in February, have seen them promoted to the Elite Championship section of UK brass banding.

The result in Blackpool also secured a place in the First Section Finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, in Cheltenham in September.

Manx Concert Brass chairman, Philip Shimmin, said: ‘This truly is a special moment in a journey that began in the mid-90s and is a testament to the skill, hard work, dedication and friendship of all involved.

‘Since then, we have secured some excellent results and consistently strong performances in regional and national competitions, culminating in this latest success.

‘To gain promotion and elevation into the highest division of brass banding really is wonderful, and an accolade we have worked very hard to achieve.’

This achievement caps a remarkable contesting journey since Manx Concert Brass first began competing in the North West Regional Championships in 1995, with many of the original players still part of the band.

The adult band was created as increasingly more and more members of the Manx Youth Band over the age of 19 wanted to continue performing, and the Manx Concert Brass was formed to accommodate them.

Next year the division will include world-famous bands such as Fairey from Stockport, in Manchester, former European champions Leyland and, the reigning National Champions of Great Britain, Foden’s Band from Cheshire.

Mr Shimmin said: ‘When we decided to start contesting, our objective was to improve both as players, and as a band, and do our very best to represent ourselves and the island.’

‘Of course, none of this would have been possible without the encouragement, knowledge and leadership of Ian Clague for which we’re all very grateful.

‘His dedication and commitment to the organisation has allowed us to exceed all our expectations and it is extremely satisfying to have this recognition.’

Having just completed the May edition of their monthly ‘Band in Braddan’ show, the Manx Concert Brass’ next event will be at the Port Erin Brass Band Festival, where they will play alongside the Manx Youth Band.

The national finals will begin on September 17, in The Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse, with the Championship Final taking place at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, on October 21.