Hundreds of brass bands went on the march to entertain crowds in the annual Whit Friday Marches.

On Friday packed crowds gathered to watch some of the best brass bands in Britain compete for cash prizes in the pouring rain, and the Cheshire Constabulary Brass Band stole the show.

After weeks of practising and drilling at the force’s headquarters in Winsford, crowds cheered as members of the Cheshire police band paraded through the streets of Saddleworth, near Oldham, wearing traditional police uniforms.

The band, which comprises musicians from all walks of life, including retired police officers, marched regimentally through the crowds to the beat of the service’s Corpse of Drums led by Drum Major Band Sgt Tony Jackson.

In just less than seven hours, the band travelled to Scouthead, Greenfield, Lydgate, Uppermill, Delph and Greenacres, entertaining with their rousing rendition of Police Academy, before returning to the Winsford HQ just after midnight.

While performing at Greenfield band members were approached by stewards and members of the crowd who thanked them for helping to divert traffic and give medical assistance in a tragic road accident last year.

Conducted by former Chief Inspector Dave Woollam, the band returned to Cheshire with a total of eight prizes to add to its trophy cabinet: five for deportment and three for performance.

Mr Woollam said: “Whit Friday is very hard work, but I am immensely proud of the band. We had a great and very successful night, we were consistent the whole way round and I am very pleased for them.”

There was also success for the City of Chester Brass Band at Greenfield and Denshaw, where their performance of The Contester secured them best band in the fourth section.

Musical director Phillip Mottershead, who conducted the band in its seven-village circuit, said: “It’s many years since Chester Band had such a successful evening on the round of the Whit Friday contests and it reflects the progress the band is making in playing more challenging music.”