There’s nothing more heartwarming than a community coming together to look after its own.
This story, involving the loyal citizens of Leighton Buzzard and 22-year-old aspiring opera singer Lissie Allsopp, would make a tear-jerking television series.
Her parents, Sally and David Allsopp, are the popular pair behind Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre. Almost everyone in town has a tale to tell of how they’ve helped often vulnerable youngsters develop confidence, learn life skills and acquire team spirit while asking nothing in return.
Now it’s payback time and people from all walks of life are coming together to do whatever they can for Lissie to follow her dream and take up a place at the prestigious Associated Studios Performing Arts Academy.
She’s already auditioned and been accepted but almost turned down the offer because she couldn’t afford the estimated £20,000 for the course and living in London.
Local businessman Graham Mountford, 51, is stepping in to underwrite the cost of the concerts Lissie is presenting to help pay her fees.
He said: “We couldn’t stand by and see her opportunity slip away. This is my way of saying ‘thank you’ to someone who’s done so much for the town.”
Former nurse Victoria Langston, 43, is busy crocheting ‘minions’ to be raffled and said: “It’s wonderful to be able to support Lissie and the Allsopp family because they have given so much to others over the years.”
Linslade housewife Elleesa Jones is having a clear-out to “to help with Lissie’s dream – because it’s become a dream for all of us to share.”
And 11-year-old Rebecca is also keen to assist. She’s wanted to sing like Lissie since she was five and said: “She works so hard and deserves to go on the course.”
Teenager Robert added: “She’s got so much talent she could go on to be a huge star.”
Lissie said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the response: “I will never forget the immense generosity that has been shown to me.”
> Lissie is at Leighton Football Club tomorrow night (August 19) and at St Leonards Church Hall on August 25. Tickets from firstname.lastname@example.org