RAFA Band will leave The Blakehay Theatre after 10 years due to planned revamp

Sunshine Productions will perform Goodnight Mr Tom at The Blakehay Theatre.

Sunshine Productions will perform Goodnight Mr Tom at The Blakehay Theatre. - Credit: Archant

The Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) Band, which is based in Weston-super-Mare, has been forced to leave its home of nearly 10 years due to increased costs and a planned theatre refurbishment.

RAFA Concert Band.

RAFA Concert Band. - Credit: sub

The group, which was formed out of the RAF Locking musicians in 1998, has been based at the Blakehay Theatre for almost a decade, and has been the venue’s resident band for five years.

But Weston Town Council plans to revamp the upstairs studio spaces, meaning there is no longer room for the RAFA Concert Band to store its equipment.

It has also faced the rising costs of renting the rehearsal and storage rooms, ticket sale tariffs and the price of hiring the theatre.

Musical director Peter Skellon said: “We, the band, will be sad to go especially when we have had an input into its development over the years.”

The group, which is RAFA’s regional band for the South West, is moving to Victoria Methodist Church in Station Road.

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Its annual Christmas In The Air concert has also been moved from the Blakehay to the church.

Mr Skellon said: “We had lots of people looking for venues for us to live in.

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“We needed a rehearsal room and storeroom-cum-library and that’s why Victoria Methodist Church fitted us.”

Mr Skellon said although the band is sometimes thought of as being Weston’s, it has members from as far away as Hampshire, Cornwall and Gloucestershire.

He said: “It is not just about promoting the association, but entertaining people. We are always very busy.”

The band will hold its first rehearsal at the church on November 28.

Its first concert in Weston since the move will be Christmas In The Air at the church on December 11 at 3pm. Tickets, priced £10, will be available on the door.

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