A LONG running tradition of a brass band bringing some festive cheer to those spending Christmas at The Dilke Memorial Hospital sadly came to an end last month. 

But there will be an encore for Cinderford Band & Academy who are looking forward to reviving the tradition at the new Forest of Dean Community Hospital next Christmas.

It comes with The Dilke due to close in 2024 with services being transferred to the new hospital on Steam Mills Road. 

The band has been playing carols at The Dilke every Christmas Eve for decades, with some of the older members of the current crop having first played there 50 years ago. 

Many of the players first took part in the tradition when they were children themselves. 

Euphonium player Chris Walding commented: “Nearly my whole life playing carols at this great place and not to mention that I was born here”. 

Staff at the Dilke Memorial Hospital with Cinderford Band following their final carols concert there on Christmas Eve

The band said it was a “privilege” to have played to the patients and meet the staff “who do so much to make the patients’ stay more comfortable”. 

The band are now looking forward to “continuing their long tradiiton in the new hospital in the future”.

A Facebook post from the band said: “Last concert of the year tonight for the Cinderford band and Academy band.

“They played to a packed Littledean Guest House where Santa arrived on his sleigh, and then on to the Dilke Hospital for our long tradition, where sadly this will be the last Christmas Eve concert at the Dilke Hospital.

“It was lovely to be able to have a photo of band with the Dilke Hospital staff at the end of our Carol playing.”