Thanet veterans in choir, animation and craft exhibition showcase in Cliftonville

Veterans' choir

A large and appreciative audience were entertained and joined in the celebrations to showcase the creative work of Thanet veterans at Holy Trinity Church , Cliftonville, last Saturday.

The concert was the culmination of a range of creative activities, including ceramics, animation and singing, provided for around 50 Thanet veterans and their dependents.

The concert brought together the Central Band of the Royal British Legion, the Military Wives choir from Shorncliffe, and a veterans’ choir. The veterans’ choir was made up from residents of Maurice House, a Royal British Legion residential care home in Broadstairs and supported by some veteran singers from a newly formed group in Deal.

Their performance was special for a number of reasons. Firstly, their average age was around 90, and many were performing in public for the first time. One of the singers, Reg, started singing as part of the project two weeks short of his 100th  birthday – proving the adage that you’re never too old to learn.

Not only did they perform a medley of songs but the songs reflected an animated film  which they had made. The animations were projected onto screens and the veterans performed with the Central Band of the RBL with the music specially orchestrated for them. The concert was also live streamed to 5 Royal British Legion residential care homes.

In addition to the performance there was a display of ceramic tiles, assembled into three murals, made by the veterans. These murals will be donated to Maurice House.

Kent Arts and Wellbeing delivered the project on behalf of Age UK Thanet, with funding provided by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund.

Adrian Bawtree of Kent Arts and Wellbeing led the singing activity and organised the concert. He was part of the Kent creative team which included Catherine Arnell of Espression Arts, Lydia Hibbert of the Young Animators Club, and a team of volunteers.

Adrian said: “The project has been a great success with real wellbeing benefits for participants and tangible outcomes in the form of the murals and a video that is being made of the concert.”