April 24 2014 Latest news:
A group of Army wives are starting to hit the high notes with support from the Royal British Legion. Backed by a £1,000 donation from the Legion, the Wattisham Military Wives Choir has brought together wives and girlfriends from the base to support each other through a shared love of singing.
By Lauren Everitt
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
SOLDIERS’ wives and girlfriends have come together to sing their hearts out while their partners are away on active duty.
Wattisham Military Wives’ Choir has followed in the footsteps of the successful TV series “The Choir: Military Wives” which saw musical maestro Gareth Malone teach partners of Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan to sing.
The choir, based at Wattisham Airfield, was set up in January by Sally Wilkinson while her husband Captain Phil Wilkinson was serving in Afghanistan.
She said: “I was inspired by the TV show and just wanted to do something to bring wives at Wattisham together, to both have fun and look after each other while our husbands are away on operations.
“It has started off a real buzz around the camp and a lot of new friendships have been made.”
The choir, which has been backed by a £1,000 donation from the Royal British Legion, regularly has around 35 women turning up for weekly rehearsals.
Clare Ellard, whose husband Lance Corporal Luke Ellard is currently deployed in Afghanistan, said: “For me the choir is two hours a week to just enjoy myself and forget all my worries.
“Luke thinks it’s brilliant and asks every time we speak what the choir’s been singing.
“Recordings of our rehearsals have been sent out to Afghanistan. It lets the guys know that their wives are looking our for each other back home and that helps them concentrate on their jobs.”
The choir, led by Michael Dann, made its debut with a performance at an event in the officers’ mess earlier this month.
Mrs Wilkinson said: “Everyone was apprehensive and neither the choir nor the audience really knew what to expect. But it went very well, which boosted everyone’s confidence and there are some strong voices beginning to emerge.”
Colin Hawkins, the Royal British Legion’s Suffolk county chairman, said: “We’re delighted to support the Wattisham Military Wives’ Choir. Soldiers’ wives suddenly become single-parent families when their husbands deploy and the choir is a great way for them to support each other and it sounds fantastic too.”