The Co-operative Group has sponsored the Glasgow Co-operative Funeralcare Band for 100 years. The band was formed in 1918, drawing its players from the then CWS factories in Glasgow.
The band has won the Scottish Championship a record 32 times, the National Championship of Great Britain title twice and All England Masters International title twice. They were runners-up at the European Championship, three times a podium finisher at the British Open (most recently as 2013) and claimed the Grand Shield. It has also won innumerable domestic honours — including five Scottish Open successes.
But though the Group announced better results with Funeralcare revenues growing by 3% and market share increasing for first time in five years, it has announced the withdrawal of a century of financial support, requiring the band to vacate its rehearsal premises in Newhouse in North Lanarkshire “with immediate effect”.
The Co-op CEO said: “The matter has since been brought to the attention of Co-op Chief Executive Officer Steve Murrells, who explained that the Co-op was, ‘…in the process of re-assessing our entire expense base, from bottom up. This is the only way we will establish a model of operating that ensures that our Coop is sustainable and we can continue to invest in both our colleagues and the communities in which we operate’.”
Former Band Chairman Ronnie Tennant, told 4BR (Four Bars Rest, said to be the world’s most visited brass band website) that he and other high profile supporters were made aware of the situation in the last few weeks, and have since undertaken a determined effort to find a solution to what could be a potentially terminal outcome.