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Our Chair abseiled down Charing Cross Hospital: who knew?

On a Saturday in March, Choir members gathered on Zoom. After a sing-through of Mozart's Solemn Vespers and the composer's C Minor Mass, Harry and James provided a quiz: music we'd sung at concerts over the last two years; 'guess the composer'; and a section focusing on Committee members.

Who had abseiled down the Charing Cross Hospital tower? we were asked.

It turned out that Choir Chair, Sue Mason, had been our intrepid abseiler, when she was working on ITV Telethon '88 for Thames TV. "We'd been filming a short insert showing community fundraising activity to play into the live 24-hour show", she says. "Just as we'd finished filming, the crew had a word with the Green Berets before they packed up the kit and they said they'd add £300 to the fundraising kitty if I agreed to step back over the edge of Charing Cross Hospital tower and abseil down. I didn't have much time to think about it and £300 was a heck of a lot of money in those days, so… I didn't really have much choice. It was petrifying!"

In other questions, we learnt that Treasurer Mike Scurr had fallen while trying to glissade down Ben Nevis; that Sandra Macniven was able to donate £50 to the Macmillan Cancer charity after finding it on the ground during a charity cycle ride; that Secretary Sylvia Walker had played the piano in a concert after only 9 lessons, aged 7; and that one of Angela Bryant's ancestors was captain of the ship that sailed Napolean’s furniture to St Helena.

In 'Was it Harry or James?' we learnt that Harry had a black belt in karate and that Pixie Lott had once described him as 'fresh'; and that James had turned Andy Roddick off a tennis court at Queens Club. For 'guess the composer', Harry had also put together a whole series of images representing composers' names – perhaps the hardest was "Rack-Man-Inn-Off".

We have enjoyed a real sense of community over this strange time, with 50 or more of us gathering each Tuesday since January, joined by members' dogs, cats and Emilia's very small baby. We have been delighted that four members who have moved away in recent months – Colin and Alex who have moved to Scotland, and Gilly and Robin who are now in Tunbridge Wells – have stayed connected with us. Our Saturday Zoom provided an appropriate culmination to our eight weeks of work and brought us all together for an evening of singing and good fellowship.

We're all now keeping our fingers crossed for real rehearsals starting in May – even if still under Covid regulations – and, we really hope, a concert at All Saints' Church Kingson in June.

Jackie Morgan

24 March 2021

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