A 169-year-old Ribble Valley band is appealing for help to keep it alive.

Longridge Band, which was formed in 1845, is calling for new patrons to come forward and donate what they can to the running costs after seeing their outgoings soar over recent years.

The band, which currently has 28 players and a musical director, ‘could be forced to close’ if around £150,000 isn’t raised to cover the costs.

The funds would also be put towards starting a junior section and building a new band room which have been identified as ‘vital’ for the long-term future of the band.

First reports of the band playing in public came in 1845 when the Longridge (New) Band was on duty at the Goosnargh Club Day.

The band still practise in the a barn behind the Durham Ox in Berry Lane, where the first practice was held.

During the First World War, the band regularly played off volunteers from the village as they departed for war.

Foreign travel for the band began in the 1970s with trips to France and Belgium and one of the proudest days came in 1996 when the band took first place in the first section of the National Championships of Great Britain. Since then Longridge Band has won the French Open and several local contests, and is steadily moving up the rankings under musical director Mark Peacock, who took over in 2010.

Member Philip Helvin, who has been involved with the group for 28 years, said: “It would be a huge shame if the band had to close because of this. It plays a vital role in the community and everyone would be very sad if we had to stop.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen and I’m confident that it won’t because we have such good support from the community.”

Susan Newby, the band’s treasurer, said: “The junior section and the new band room are vital in securing the long-term future of the band. The money would only keep the band going for so long because you need the players to actually make up the band in the first place.”

For more information visit www.longridgeband .com or call 07801486785.