Guildford may be in danger of losing part of its heritage following the news that rehearsal facility rental charges for the town’s brass band are set to rise by almost 350%. Friary Guildford Brass Band will be forced to move out of their rehearsal venue at Weyfield Primary School, Woking Road, unless they can find an extra £3,000 a year to cover elevated rehearsal costs following the move by Surrey County Council to centralise the management of local amenity rentals from April. The band, which receives the majority of its funding through player-member subscriptions, has been forced to start looking for new accommodation in a stance to protect its future. However, with rental costs for suitable premises in Guildford at an all time high and with little in the way of grants or subsidies for non-profit making organisations, the band has been forced to widen their search to include facilities outside of the town. Guildford is a town that is proud to have had its own brass band for most of the last century. However, like many other suburban town bands, their existence has not been continuous. There have been three ‘incarnations’ of a brass band in Guildford. The first band existed in the early 1900s when the Friary Meux Brewery had its own Brass Band, the second band in the 1950s and 60s, and the third and current band was formed in 1983. Since then, the band has performed in and around Guildford at hundreds of events, ranging from formal concerts in the Electric Theatre to entertaining crowds under Tunsgate Arch during the Queen’s visit to Guildford in 2006; from supporting the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra in Shalford Park to performing with local schools and groups in and around the borough; and from playing to picnickers’ in the castle grounds to leading the annual Armistice parade down the High Street. In its twenty-five year history the band has also supported many local charities and in the last year helped raise money for the Surrey Air Ambulance, Guildford’s branch of the British Heart Foundation and the Royal Surrey County Hospital special care baby unit. When not performing locally, the band has also made a name for itself in the brass band world by winning silverware at contests across the country against some of the world’s finest brass bands. The band is currently holding discussions with Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council as well as seeking help from local residents and business to ensure that one of the south’s premier brass bands can continue to thrive in Guildford. If you think you may be able to help, please contact the band’s chairman, Mark Yarham, on 07814 443394 or email the band at admin@FriaryGuildfordBand.co.uk.