A Cheltenham Choir Mistress taking on the London Marathon for Sue Ryder in April 2019 has raised £13,000 for our Leckhampton Court Hospice following a poignant night of performance at Cheltenham Town Hall.
Caroline Edwards, who heads up the Everyman Theatre’s Everyvoice Choirs, is running the London Marathon for us in April alongside her husband Jon, and the 'Evening of Supper and Song’ on Thursday 17th January formed a major part of their marathon fundraising drive.
Bringing together nine choirs, there was a special performance by the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice Choir, made up of Sue Ryder Nurses, staff and volunteers, which Caroline set up with funding from the Everyman Theatre Community Project.
The hospice choir gave an emotional performance of an original song called House on the Hill written by Hospice Catering Assistant Claire Pemberton-James and arranged by Pete Banks.
Caroline has been blown away by the support for the event and all of her choir's performances.
"The night was exactly how I’d imagined and hoped it would be,” Caroline said proudly. “With so many singers in the nine choirs, we needed to find an interesting way of staging the show. We had seven different stages, giving the audience a real surround sound experience! The room was full of support and love. It was just incredible.”
“There is something quite magical about singing”
“There is something quite magical about singing,” she continued. “When we sing, we connect to the emotion and the lyrics and, when singing as one group to create one sound, it generates a tremendous feeling of belonging.
“The performances on Thursday night were incredibly touching and emotional. We all sang from the heart for a wonderful cause. I hope the funds raised will help the amazing care team at the hospice carry on providing their expert and compassionate care for local families when they need it most.”
Elise Hoadley is Hospice Director and a member of the Hospice Choir who performed on the night.
"This phenomenal amount of money the choirs have raised will make a huge difference to local families needing our compassionate and expert palliative and bereavement care,” she said. “I felt so very honoured and proud to be standing alongside my colleagues in the hospice choir singing a piece of such beautiful music created by one of our members of staff in tribute to the care we give here.
“Everyone at the hospice wishes Caroline and her husband all the best as they lace up the running trainers in London to take on the Marathon in April,” she added.
A choir born of a poignant moment of hospice care
Caroline came up with the idea of forming a hospice choir for staff and volunteers based on evidence that singing has a positive effect on wellbeing. She approached the Everyman Community Project for funding and the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice Choir was born. The hospice choir has been meeting and singing in the hospice chapel each week for the past year.
“A couple of Christmases ago, I arranged for one of my choirs to perform in the Chapel at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice,” Caroline recalled. “We left the doors open so patients who could not come down from their rooms could hear our performance. As our voices drifted around the hospice, a Sue Ryder Nurse came in to listen. After the performance, she hugged me tightly and said how lovely it was to hear singing and how the music had helped her.
“That moment really struck a chord with me,” she said. “These wonderfully caring nurses, staff and volunteers do so much to look after local people at the most difficult of times, so I wanted to do something to support them.
“While there, I saw on a poster how much it costs to keep the place going and in that moment I knew not only did I want to do something to raise funds for the hospice, but I wanted to support the wonderful people who work and volunteer there using my skills as a Choir Mistress too.”
Why Caroline chose House on the Hill
“This time last year, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video from the hospice’s annual Lights of Love remembrance service where Claire was performing a beautiful piece of music and lyrics she had composed called House on the Hill,” she added.
“The words were being read out over the top by the Hospice Chaplain and it just jumped out at me. It was beautiful and really captured the emotions I felt when I was at the hospice: feelings of serenity and peace. It captured the real sense of the place.”
Support Caroline and the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice Choir
The song is now available to purchase on a limited edition CD for £10, with all funds going to Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. To reserve your copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate towards Caroline’s London Marathon bid