Devastation as van and recording equipment stolen from orchestra charity

A recording weekend ended in disaster for an arts charity when their van full of expensive equipment and instruments was stolen.

The People's Orchestra are appealing for information after the theft
The People's Orchestra are appealing for information after the theft

It has been a "disaster" and a "devastating blow" for The People's Orchestra, based in West Bromwich, who were named one of the top five amateur orchestras in the country on the BBC show All Together Now.

The white Fiat van contained sound and video recording equipment, percussion instruments, drum kits and staging curtains worth thousands of pounds.

Sarah Marshall, founder and chief executive of The People’s Orchestra, which was awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2021, said: “This is a disaster for our small charity.

"The vehicle and equipment are the result of many years of fundraising and they will take a long time to replace.

"It’s a devastating blow and if anyone knows anything, please contact the police. Our charity helps a lot of people through its music making but now we need your help.”

The orchestra, who have helped over 1,000 unemployed people get back into work since 2013, had been recording a new work by award-winning film composer John Koutselinis to celebrate this year’s Commonwealth Games.

Their van was then stolen from Birmingham city centre on Sunday, between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

The white Fiat van - registration number BL66 VNH - has a distinctive tail lift and kick step. Thieves stole it from Gough Street, close to Trefoil House in Birmingham city centre.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101, citing reference number 20/102908/22.

A fundraiser has also been launched to help replace the equipment. Visit to learn more.

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