DARWEN Brass’s meteroic rise through the competitive ranks goes on after the band won through to the National Championships.

The band, which has only been in existence for seven years, won the North West regonal heats in Blackpool at the weekend.

It means that for the second time in three years, the band will perform at the National Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham in September.

After its previous success, the band, led by musical director Steve Hartley, was promoted from the Fourth Section to the Third, and after just two years at its current level it has been promoted once more.

Band treasurer and solo tombone player Matt Haworth said everyone was delighted at the success.

He said: “It is a tremendous achievement for the band.

“There has been a lot of hard work put in and we came out victorious.

“Last year, having just been promoted, we came eighth in the heats and didn’t make it to the finals.

“So we have come on a great deal in just 12 months.”

When Darwen Brass last qualified for the Nationals in 2012, it was after finishing third in the regional heats for the Fourth Section.

It went on to come fifth in the competition at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Mr Haworth said: “We fancy our chances this time. There is more to come as well. This is not the end. We will be up again in a couple of years.”

Mr Haworth said the band’s success was partly down to Mr Hartley, who had led the band since it was formed in 2007.

He said: “Steve is the driving force and puts in so much time.

“But the players are great and there is a great sense of teamwork and everybody works hard.

“They are a great bunch.”