Gallery: Little voices make it a Big Sing

HUNDREDS of children across Suffolk and Essex had their fingers firmly crossed yesterday as they tried to sing their way into the record books.

Lizzie Parry

HUNDREDS of children across Suffolk and Essex had their fingers firmly crossed yesterday as they tried to sing their way into the record books.

Pupils warmed up their voices just in time to join around 600,000 other students from over 3,000 schools across the UK in what was hoped to be the world's biggest ever sing-a-long.

At 2.45pm yesterday, Big Sing 2008 was led live from London's O2 Arena by 90's star Des'ree singing a specially-commissioned version of her worldwide smash hit 'You Gotta Be”.

Around 40 schools in Suffolk took part including Waldringfield Primary School where pupils had their own reasons for supporting the fundraising event.

Jackie Brinsley, a teacher at the school, said as well as the excitement of being a part of a world record breaking attempt, the school had been keen to raise money for the cancer charity Marie Curie, after a pupil's brother had suffered from leukaemia.

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“Everyone had a great time; they all enjoyed taking part in all the practices. We decided to get involved both for the experience of hopefully breaking a world record as well as raising money for charity.”

Around 61 pupils took part at the school all aged between four and 11, and independent witnesses had to be on hand to verify their entry, counting the number of children taking part and ensuring every child sang the whole song.

Mrs Brinsley said the experience had brought the whole school together with older pupils helping younger ones to learn the words.

She added: “It has shown a whole school approach, all the pupils very much enjoyed doing it all together.

“We are a very friendly, family school here, the older children were more than happy to help the younger pupils, everyone has been interacting together.

“It only took about two weeks for the children to learn the words, it was amazing how quickly they picked it up, and you could always here it being sung in the play ground and see children making up dances to go along with it.

“The Big Sing has encompassed our whole ethos of doing things together in a really friendly atmosphere.”

The plan was to set a new world record of a million children singing with the stars and raising money for charity, breaking the previous record set in 2005 of 290,000 children singing simultaneously.

A spokesman for the Big Sing 2008 hinted that the record breaking attempt had been a success.

He said: “I think it is fairly safe to say we are well on the way to smashing the record. We will have to wait for the official verification to confirm it, which could take a couple of months, but the feeling is we are well clear of the previous record of about 290,000 children.

“It was a massive success, really brilliant. It was a bit manic running round the O2 arena making sure everything was in order, but it all went off really well.”

The record breaking attempt benefitted three charities - Youth Music, Marie Curie Cancer Care and CLIC Sargent, with Waldringfield Primary School.

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