‘Unpredictable and dangerous’ yobs have forced a brass band to scrap an age-old tradition of performing carols on Christmas eve.
Horbury Victoria Brass Band is in its 150th year and for more than a century its members have welcomed in Christmas day by playing carols in the town as the clock turns midnight.
But chairman David Maynard says the performance will no longer go ahead as he cannot guarantee the safety of the group.
He said: “For the past few years, the behaviour of a small number of the considerable crowd has become more and more unpredictable and dangerous. For example, pushing and shoving the band players, spitting into instruments, fighting and drowning out the band with loud shouting.
“It has become more and more difficult to persuade players that the tradition should continue in the face of these difficulties, and the number playing has grown smaller.
“We’re also concerned that we can’t guarantee the safety of those players who do turn out.”
The band will still entertain crowds with festive performances throughout the day.
But they will end their showcase at 6pm.
Mr Maynard said: “I am absolutely gutted and particularly so that this should happen when I am chairman. To lose a tradition like this is very saddening.”
Arnold Tattersfield, who has been a member of the band for 40 years and its secretary for 37, said he was saddened that behaviour at the night-time event had caused some of the community to skip the festivities.
He said: “The committee felt that there was a danger to the players, which was their utmost priority, and to the public.
“It was also felt that the members of the public who came along each year to listen to the band for the genuine reason of the event, which is to welcome the Christmas period, were staying away for these reasons.
“The decision was not taken lightly and it saddens me that it had to be made.”