A BAND club stalwart is taking a marathon step to help send village brass bands on a visit to a sacred war shrine.
John Holden, 58, the dedicated president of Dobcross Silver Band, will take on a sponsored 10.2mile trek next month calling at ten clubs across Saddleworth.
Funds raised will help 60 members of the Silver Band and Dobcross Brass Monkeys fund their visit to the legendary Menin Gate Memorial in August.
John, who has been steward at the band club for 31 years, has already raised hundreds of pounds ahead of his start date on Sunday, March 22.
He visited the Menin Gate in 2002 when he laid a wreath and is now set on helping the bands fund their own visit and play at the Last Post ceremony.
He declared: “My visit to the memorial was a very moving experience – one I’ll never forget.
“I just thought my trek was a positive way of raising funds for such a worthwhile visit. I’m hoping some refreshment will be provided along the route to keep my spirits up!”
John’s trek will see him leave Dobcross Band and Social Club at 10am, then passing by Diggle Band Club, Uppermill Conservative Club, Greenfield Conservative Club, Boarshurst Band Club and Saddleworth Cricket Club.
From there he will journey to Yorkshire Ward Conservative Club, Mossley Band Club, Lydgate Parish Hall and Delph Band Club before returning to Dobcross.
Andy Smith, chair of the Dobcross Silver Band, said: “The band and club is John’s life and all his proudest moments revolve around it.
“He is really keen to do something personally to support this venture which he really believes in.
“The Menin Gate visit will be a great experience and we are conscious we are representing our village and our band with all its history.
“The overall cost is quite substantial which is why we are trying to raise as much as we can.”
A host of other fundraising events are planned including a performance by award-winning actor and comedian Billy Pearce at The Swan Inn, Dobcross, on Wednesday, March 25 at 8pm.
Tickets for ‘An Adult Evening with Billy Pearce’ cost £15, including raffle tickets, are available from The Swan Inn: 01457 873451 or online.
For more information on the bands’ fundraising efforts, contact: Cathy Heaven 07554 116787, Phil Cumberworth 07841 326505 or Andy Black 07799 072459.
Sponsorship forms for John’s trek are available from Dobcross Band Club: 01457 873741 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org