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WATCH: Barnstaple Jubilee Singers celebrate 40 fantastic years of friendship and song

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 August 2017

The Barnstaple Jubilee Singers are celebrating 40 years this summer. Founder members (from left) Pat Radcliffe, Janet Broome, Margaret Radcliffe, Lynne Knight and Maureen Sobey have been singing together since 1977. Picture: Andy Keeble

The Barnstaple Jubilee Singers are celebrating 40 years this summer. Founder members (from left) Pat Radcliffe, Janet Broome, Margaret Radcliffe, Lynne Knight and Maureen Sobey have been singing together since 1977. Picture: Andy Keeble

Archant

Ladies choir was formed in August 1977 – the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

A Barnstaple ladies choir is celebrating four decades of friendship and song this month.

The Barnstaple Jubilee Singers were formed in August 1977 – the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year – by retired schoolmistress Nora Brown.

The 10 original members – five of whom are still singing today – started rehearsing at Newport Methodist Chapel.

Pat Radcliffe and 91-year-old mum Margaret, Maureen Sobey and daughter Lynne Knight and Janet Broome are still going strong 40 years later, along with more than 30 members of the choir.

Lynne, who was just 16 when she joined, said: “It’s just total escapism.

“We have such a laugh together – and it’s great to see the enjoyment on people’s faces when we perform.”

Like the music, there have been plenty of highs, as well as a few lows over the years. One of the first concerns almost ended in tragedy in December 1978, when the ladies’ bus collided head-on with a car on the way to a charity concert in South Molton. Fortunately there were no serious injuries, and although they were late for the concert, the ladies carried on for a good cause.

The ladies now rehearse every Wednesday evening at Christ Church in Bear Street and count everything from Bohemian Rhapsody to religious hymns among their repertoire.

They perform all over North Devon at various venues, from small residential homes to large churches and theatres. The choir also sings at weddings, birthdays and special church services.

“We just love it – singing and entertaining,” said Maureen.

“We are a nice happy crowd and everyone gets on; 40 years is a heck of a long time to see the same faces every week.”

The choir is holding a special 40th anniversary concert and cream tea at Fremington Parish Hall on August 12 from 2-4pm.

Around 100 former members, conductors and pianists have been invited to enjoy a short performance and a cream tea.

The choir always welcomes new members and is also on the lookout for a new pianist. If you’re interested, call musical director Viv Gregory on 01271 816398 or visit their website for more information.

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