Independent article: Singing Barnsley Youth Choir's praises

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of hosting the Barnsley Youth Choir’s fundraising dinner. I believe the Youth Choir represents the best of Barnsley, embodying the spirit of talent and dedication that we find throughout our town. They bring together over 200 young people – between the ages of 8 and 18 – from a variety of backgrounds, with different talents, tastes and musical aspirations and encourages them to be the best that they can. I have seen firsthand the creativity and commitment of those involved and it is something that we can all be proud of.

In July 2014 the 8th World Choir Games will take place in Riga, Latvia. Forty-four talented young people from the Choir have the opportunity to represent Barnsley, and Great Britain, at this prestigious event. All the proceeds from the dinner, the auction and the raffle went towards raising the £25,000 necessary to fund the trip. As a long-term supporter of the Choir, I was happy to help raise money for such a worthy cause.

It was an incredibly successful event and gave the choir the chance to impress yet another audience with their spectacular singing.

I would like to thank those who donated prizes to the auction and the raffle. Many local people and businesses were incredibly generous, including:
Pollyanna’s, Barnsley College, Barnsley Council, Cllr Steve Houghton, the RSPB Old Moor, Mel Dyke, Russell Eaton, ASOS, Dickie Bird, Simon Hirst, Milly Johnson, The Lamproom Theatre, Barnsley Football Club, John and Linda Parkinson, John and Kathy Bostwick, Barry Smith, Leslie Francis hairdressers, Barnsley Civic, Lee and Lisa Hunter and many more besides. Thank you also to the Holiday Inn for hosting the event and to the Darton West Ward Alliance for their amazing support.

Without the work of volunteers, the success of the choir would not be possible. Mat Wright, the inspirational leader of the Choir, and Ann Wroe, the Chair, are just two examples of the inspirational volunteers that we have in our town. The Barnsley Youth Choir proves that, when people are willing dedicate their time and effort, we can achieve some truly extraordinary things.

This article was first published in the Barnsley Independent on Wednesday 21 May 2014.