A post by 2nd trom virtuoso sparked my curiosity. He wrote "two of London and Southern Counties most consistent bands in the championship got relegated this year - Soham and Friary" This got me thinking - what is the gauge of consistency in the top section? A few years results? Or a few decades? A little bit of online research (at http://www.regional-contest.org.uk/london/index.php?page=grading) shows that, as of next year's contest, all the bands in the L&SC top section bar 3 (Aveley, Redbridge, and Kidlington) will have been in the section for only 6 years or fewer. For the record, the bands that Matt referred to, Friary Guildford and Soham Comrades, were last out of the top section in respectively 2003 and 1998. Friary had previously (as I recall) been in or around the top section for some years, whereas Soham were freshly promoted from the lower sections. I can't see any online records that go back further than the late 90s, but a phone call to a longer-serving member of Kidlington Concert Brass than me tells me that we debuted in the top section in 1994, after a couple of years of being reorganised down a section following the reorganisation from 4 sections into 5. Prior to that, one half of the merger that went to form KCB, Oxford Concert Brass (or Halls Brewery or Hartford Motors depending on sponsorship) had been a top section band for some time - since the 70s, we think, when it was formed. Aveley's website tells us that, prior to the merging of Aveley band and Newham band, Aveley had been promoted to the top section in 1966, and Newham had qualified for the top section finals in 1958, although it doesn't say anything about continuity in the section. Redbridge's website is less informative historically, but the 4br results archive says that they have been doing well in the top section since at least 1990. Can anyone offer any more precise information on any of Aveley, Newham or Redbridge? What is the distribution of dates like in other areas? I strongly doubt that Black Dyke, to pick one example, have ever been relegated; do they go right back to the contest's foundation?