Celebrating Leighton Buzzard’s Memphis Belles

SWING SINGERS: The Memphis Belles
SWING SINGERS: The Memphis Belles

Memphis Belles – the fabulous three-part harmony group who perform music from the 1940s and 1950s – are going from strength to strength.

They hit the headlines three years ago when they were caught up in the ‘escape’ of ex Royal Navy lieutenant Bernard Jordan, who mounted a one-man expedition from his Hove care home to the beaches in Normandy for a D-Day anniversary.

His escapade caught the world’s imagination and he was given a hero’s welcome when he got back.

The Belles – whose leader Claire Deakin hails from Hornbeam Close – appeared at the event and found they too were top of the news agenda when they returned.

The Belles have been together six years and comprise Julie Maguire and Adele Leatham, in addition to Claire.

She’s been singing since she was eight and was determined to belong to that tiny two percent of the population who do a job they enjoy.

She says: “I went to Vandyke Upper and it was a very musical school. I was also blessed with a fantasic music teacher, Mr Booth, who was very ecouraging.”

She’s always loved the era of swing and big bands and says Adele should have been born in the 1950s, she’s so at ease with the fashion and the songs.

Claire designs the Belles’ outfits and they have them specially made.

Last year they went up to Scotland to perform Chanson d’Amour for a lady who was celebrating her 100th birthday. “It was a long drive to sing one song,” Claire admits. “And we had to belt it out because she was so deaf. But by the end we all had tears in our eyes.”

The trio are a huge hit at Dunstable’s Grove Theatre vintage afternoon tea parties, as well as RAF reunions, weddings and corporate events. They have also sung a capella alongside larger-than-life actor Christopher Biggins.

> More information from 07812 989343 or visit www.memphisbelles.co.uk