Passion for choir bridges the age gap

Peter Dalby and grand-daughter Belinda
Peter Dalby and grand-daughter Belinda

PETER Dalby and his grand-daughter Belinda are in perfect harmony despite a 52-year age gap.

A keen singer and member of three choirs, Peter has been associated with Overgate Hospice Choir for almost 20 years. Now his grand-daughter Belinda, aged 19, has become the choir’s newest recruit - and its youngest member by some distance.

Belinda, a former pupil at Rastrick High School, can read music and used to play the cello but had no ambitions to take up choral singing until encouraged by her grandparents.

“I saw how much my grandad enjoyed it and how much it meant to him and decided I’d give it a try. My first appearance with the choir was at Halifax Minster at Christmas and it was a great experience. Everyone has taken me under their wing and made me feel very welcome,” said Belinda, whose ambition is to be a police officer.

Peter, of Smithy Carr Lane, Brighouse, sings with Coley Church Choir and Elland Male Voice Choir as well as turning out for Overgate. “I love the camaraderie and the social side as well as the singing. I’ve made a lot of good friends through choral singing but with Overgate Hospice Choir there is the bonus of knowing that we are helping people in need. So far the choir has raised £200,000 to support services for patients at the hospice.”

2011 is an important year for Overgate. Not only is it the Elland hospice’s 30th anniversary but the choir is also marking 20 years of fund-raising. Peter and Belinda, along with other members, are busy rehearsing for the choir’s next public appearance - a concert performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘The Gondoliers’ at All Saints’ Church, Elland, on Saturday, June 11.

The choir’s annual Hymn Sing at Central Methodist Church, Brighouse, is a popular event on the calendar but Peter’s personal favourite is the carol concert. “Halifax Minster is such a beautiful building and the atmosphere at the carol concert is always so special - even more so last year because it was Belinda’s first appearance with us. I’m very proud of her for joining the choir and it’s great that we have an interest in common.”

Now Peter wants more people - especially bass voices - to sign up. “Singing in a choir is such a positive thing to do. It is a big commitment but to sing in front of 600 people is a marvellous experience.”

l Overgate Hospice Choir, conducted by Dr Simon Lindley and accompanied by Alan Horsey, will be joined by six young soloists to sing ‘The Gondoliers’. Tickets at £10 are available from 01422 345414.