Friendly, Havant choir, Folks in Harmony, have donated £1,500 to 3 local charities. The money was raised at their 2 concerts held last year, in the summer and at Christmas as well as at various carol singing gigs in December.
The mixed, a cappella choir presented the money to the charities concerned at their annual party night, held in February because they couldn’t fit it in last December! Charity representatives were invited to come along to the event and the choir member responsible for suggesting them presented them with a cheque for £500 each.
The chosen charities were the MS Society, Chichester and Bognor Regis branch, Zellweger UK and Rachel Madocks School, Waterlooville.
Caroline Davis, who presented a cheque to Evelyn Lister from The MS Society said, “I chose this charity because they supported me tremendously throughout my late husband Adrian’s gradual decline from multiple sclerosis. They have continued to support me through the 5 years since he died too. As a founder member of Folks in Harmony in 2012, I was really touched when the Society kindly invited us to perform at a Summer Social when they had no idea what we sounded like! Happily, we can’t have been too bad as they have continued to invite us back to sing every year.”
In addition to supporting local people affected by MS, The MS Society’s Chichester & Bognor group fund items needed by them because of their disability, including home adaptations and mobility aids essential to retain independence, improve their mobility and reduce social exclusion.
The second presenter, Helen Hughes, chose Zellweger UK, a tiny, fledgling charity that supports the families of babies and children affected by the rare genetic disease, Zellweger Spectrum Disorder which causes multi-sensory loss and a plethora of health issues. Helen lost her granddaughter, Ellena May, to this disease at the age of 9 months.
Helen’s daughter and mother of Ellena May, Kerry Hughes, who is a trustee, volunteers for the charity and attended the presentation, found support via the US, from other affected families here in the UK. Together they founded the UK’s only charity dedicated to Zellweger syndrome, and it now helps fund research as well as helping 45 families with equipment, information and emotional and financial support.
The third charity presented with a cheque was Rachel Madocks School in Waterlooville, which is for children between the ages of 2 and 19 years of age with severe learning difficulties. Their Eagle Appeal is looking for funding for after-school clubs, school trips and gym equipment. It was the choice of Rosemarie Willoughby, who presented the cheque because it is such an exceptional place with dedicated staff who strive to educate and enable the children to lead a normal life despite their capabilities.
Rosemarie wanted to help ever since she first met the staff and pupils and said, “I am thrilled that the choir has made this generous donation. I was invited to their Christmas service this year and was amazed at each and every one of them and yes, I am not ashamed to say I had a tear in my eye as I watched their great choir. Well done to the staff and the children's parents for all their hard work.”
Folks in Harmony is supporting 2 new charities in 2018, Hampshire Air Ambulance and Key Changes Music Therapy based in Winchester.
The award-winning choir has come a long way since 2012, winning the Choir of the Day Cup at Portsmouth Music Festival last year, and it meets weekly on a Thursday evening in Bedhampton Social Hall. It currently has vacancies for all voice parts.
While it isn’t necessary to be experienced or able to read music, it certainly helps. For more information visit the website www.folksinharmony.co.uk or call MaryAnne on 023 9224 1633