Slade split up after 50 years as drummer Don Powell is sacked by email

Slade's original drummer has been sacked from the glam rock group after being a member for more than 50 years.

Don Powell, 73, had been a member of the group, which is best known for its Christmas hit Merry Xmas Everybody, since the 1960s.

However, he says he was sent a "cold email" by the last remaining original member, Dave Hill, telling him that he would no longer be performing for the group.

In a statement on his website, representatives of Powell said: "It is with great sadness and regret that Don needs to inform his fans that he now is no longer a member of Dave Hill's Slade.

"Dave has sent Don a cold email to inform him that his services are no longer required, after working together and being friends since 1963."

However, in a twist, Powell has set up a band rivalling Dave Hill's Slade - called Don Powell's Slade.

The statement added: "However, the great news is that Don is now fully fit to play drums again! He is coming back with his band who will be called Don Powell's Slade.

"He is forming it with ex-Slade 2 bass guitar member Craig Fenney. We will post more news about the recruited members in due course.

"Don so looks forward to going on the road and seeing all the fans again."

On his own Facebook page, Dave Hill, also 73, disputes Powell's account of his dismissal, and instead says there had been a previous warning.

"I am sad to announce that Don and I will no longer be working together," he said.

"Our parting of the ways has not come out of the blue and his announcement is not accurate. I wish Don every success in his future efforts.

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"I will, of course, carry on and look forward to many future performances and meeting fans."

Slade has undergone a number of iterations since its formation in the 1960s, and were one of the most successful bands of its time - being one of the first groups to have three singles enter the charts straight at number one.

Singer Noddy Holder, famous for bellowing "It's Christmas!" in their iconic festive track, left Slade in 1992 after a series of arguments in the group.