Band members criticised for asking for payment to play at a remembrance service have hit back – and say they have always been willing to help.

St Martins Parish Council expressed its disappointment when members were told the Ifton Colliery Band – which used to be based in the village – wanted to charge £250 to play at the November 14 service.

Cllr Jim Hoos said he was ‘shocked’ by the request and Cllr Sue Schofield said it was ‘a cheek’ to ask for the sum.

But a band spokesman said: “The band is always willing and happy to support the local area – and feels let down by the comments of the parish council.

“We are saddened by the view taken by St Martins Parish Council, particularly when its budget affords £200 for the band to attend the event.

“This was not requested by the band last year, nor has the band requested any fee or donation to play at the Christmas tree ceremony, at which they play every year.

“The band even had to have a piece especially written last year at the request of one of the council members. We were asked by a council member to play a particular Christmas piece but the band did not have it in its library. The band obviously wanted to oblige and so arranged for the piece to be written out so it could play it as a group at the event.

“The band is disappointed the parish council has once again not recognised the hard work we have put in to create and grow a free-to-use junior band in the area and show its support by giving a donation.

“The band is a local registered charity made up of volunteers who give free tuition to local children.

“The new youth brass band, The Iftonites, is an offshoot of the Ifton Colliery Band and is going from strength to strength.

“Ifton Colliery Band is now based in Black Park, Chirk, and has long recognised the importance of ensuring the future of the brass-band heritage of the local area.

“As a result of the support of the trustees of the Black Park Chapel, who approached the band earlier in the year to offer the use of its lottery-funded music-led premises, we have now been able to undertake the task of ensuring the future of the brass band movement by inviting any budding young musicians to benefit from – and have the same access – to free musical services and tuition the current members did years ago.”

Headed by Jennifer Hewitt, Ifton Colliery Band’s flugel horn player, the Iftonites is run solely by volunteers from the senior band who teach children from their first notes to their first solo.

“The Ifton band provides instruments from within our own store for use without charge to ensure any child wanting to learn is able to,” said the spokesman.

“The senior band will be very busy over the Christmas period with carols to try to raise more funds to buy much-needed instruments to keep up with demand.”

The Iftonites rehearse each Sunday at Black Park Chapel, Halton, Chirk between 6pm and 7pm.

Anyone wishing to find out further information about the band, and how to get involved, should send an email to