Sheffield Wednesday's supporters' band is backing GB medal hopefuls with rousing music in Beijing.

The band, led by life-long Owls' fan John Hemmingham, includes comedian Bernie Clifton and his ostrich, three memebers of the Salvation Army members, a barmaid, a health shop owner and a former wartime naval officer Bram Denton.

For the record, Denton, at the age of 90, still plays saxophone!

The group have become famous over the years for performing at Wednesday and England international matches.

It will be the latest adventure for the band, which was formed on the Kop at Hillsborough in 1993, but has since developed a reputation world-wide on its travels supporting British sporting heroes.

Hemmingham said: "Just for fun I once took a bugle to a game at Hillsborough and everybody went mad. They loved it.

"Trevor Francis, who was manager at the time, contacted me and asked if I could get some musicians together to perform at home games and help the team and it went from there.

"In 1996 I got a call from Glenn Hoddle and David Davies at the FA asking if the band could play at England games. I thought it was a wind-up at first. Being asked to play for England! How good is that?

"We've followed them home and abroad ever since and only missed two games.

"Since then we've spread our wings and followed other teams like the Great Britain Rugby League team, boxer Ricky Hatton and the England Sevens rugby side.

"We went to Las Vegas twice this year to follow Hatton, and also played during his home-coming fight earlier this year at Eastlands."

Trumpeter Hemmingham added: "Bernie Clifton is great for the band. He was presenting a show on Radio Sheffield when I first got in touch to invite him to play with us.

"He came along and loved it, so joined up. Bullseye's Jim Bowen was also keen on joining us as well, but his work schedule has prevented him from playing so far. But he can join the squad whenever he likes.

"Bernie is good fun and has become an integral part of the band. He's coming to Beijing and even bringing the ostrich. It promises to be an entertaining trip one way or the other."

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