It's been a real rollercoaster year for Thoresby Colliery Band - and one that certainly deserves a drink in celebration.
A season that has already included podium finishes at the Brass at the Guild Hall contest, Midlands Regional Championship and the Senior Cup, means that just months after the closure of the last pit in Nottinghamshire that supported them for so long; a rejuvenated band now has a bright future to look forward to.
However, that welcome success does come at a cost - especially their first trip to the Royal Albert Hall since 2011, as band member Rich Walker explained.
"Our trophy cabinet is now looking rather healthy after a few years of slim pickings - with some nice cups to polish. However, the qualification for the National Final, whilst an amazing feat, left us scratching our heads when we had to consider the cost of success. It has meant some serious fundraising."
In stepped Lincoln Green Brewery to assist by helping the band to brew their own beer, ‘Finals Countdown’.
Brewery Managing Director, Anthony Hughes explains: "When I received an interesting e-mail explaining the band's success and need to fundraise, the link between the Edwinstowe area, the heart of Sherwood Forest and that of our company, Lincoln Green was obvious."
He added: "I immediately responded to their call for help in the best way I know - by coming up with the idea of brewing a beer for the occasion.
Since that initial contact we've had 'Beer & Brass' Festivals at our two pubs 'The Robin Hood & Little John' and the 'Sir John Borlase Warren'. A donation per pint sold of 'The Finals Countdown' will go directly to them and their National Finals campaign - and we wish them all the very best."
As part of the process, band members Rich Walker, Richard Bond and Ian McCormick dutifully (there were no shortage of volunteers by all accounts) swapped their instruments for the day and became Apprentice Brewers. Working alongside the Head Brewer, the Thoresby 'Brewmeisters' brewed a pale, hoppy refreshing ale at 4.2%.
The beer has been so successful that over £500 has been raised so far and a second batch has been brewed. The band are now preparing ‘flash mob’ events to appear at a selection of local pubs who will be serving the beer throughout September, in a final push to raise funds in the countdown to the National Finals.