At work with Military Wives carers

Joseph Bulmer

Four members of the chart topping Military Wives Choir work at Tyspane Care Centre in Braunton.

THE Military Wives Choir has a special place in the hearts of those at Tyspane Care Centre in Braunton – because four of its members work there.

Sarah Wall, Hayley Flood, Carly Pearce and Kirsty Cunningham are all carers at the home and all have husbands based at nearby RMB Chivenor.

At the time of going to press on Friday, the choir - forged by celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone in his BBC Two series The Choir: Military Wives – were set to top the Christmas chart with their charity single Wherever You Are, written by Paul Mealor.

They have a huge following at Tyspane, particularly after the full choir visited earlier this month. It followed the television show when resident Helen Berry was pictured moved to tears as they performed at Barnstaple Pannier Market.

Speaking before the weekend, choir member and Tyspane carer Sarah Wall, whose corporal husband Mark is in the military police, said: “The residents have really engaged with our journey and it will be the best present ever if we top the chart and raise as much money as we can for the Royal British Legion and SSAFA.”

Carly Pearce, whose husband Darren is a chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, said they could not believe how quickly things had changed from a small group with Gareth Malone to a nationwide sensation.

“It’s more than just a song, I think it has brought out so much – people are much more aware now,” she said.

“No one had really thought about what it is like for the families left at home when their husbands go to war.”

She added that their employer Barchester Healthcare, which runs Tyspane, had “been brilliant” and very supportive, as had their colleagues at the home.

Barchester chief executive Mike Parsons has personally called on the company’s 15,000 staff to support the four carers and the Military Wives Choir Christmas effort.