Festive concert saved following red tape threat

Sandhills Singers make their debut in 2012
Sandhills Singers make their debut in 2012

An ‘upset’ Leighton choir has found an emergency concert venue, after health and safety red tape put their Christmas show in jeopardy.

After coming to the LBO for help last week, Sandhills Singers have had their prayers answered by Astral Park community centre. after the choir’s annual Christmas performance was threatened by ‘expensive’ liability insurance.

The festive choir had arranged to hold their free annual concert in Greenfields community centre, Theedway, on Monday, December 5, where the team practice each week.

However, after raising the question of insurance to Greenfields managers in October, Sue Hind-Woodward, choir chair, received an email on November 15 stating that Alwyck Housing (who own Greenfields) would require insurance.

But not to be disheartened, Sue enlisted the help of the LBO to raise awareness of their predicament, and an old friend.

She said: “I received a quote of £106 to cover the group and the cheapest I could find was £68. I knew the Greenhills staff wanted us, but some of our members are young mums, some are retired – we couldn’t afford to pay that.

“I emailed Gina Croxford, of Bossard House, who used to work at Sandhills, our old practice room, and she put me in touch with Mark Penton, senior centre coordinator at Astral Park. He offered us the venue for free!

“My sincere thanks go out to the two of them, and also to the LBO fo publishing our story online, which resulted in kind hearted offers of help – one man offered to fund the cost of liability insurance within hours of the story going ‘live’.”

The free concert will be held on Monday, December 5, at 6pm in the Astral Park community centre.

The team have prepared many festive numbers to perform, including Deck the Halls, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Silent Night.

The choir used to practise in the much-loved Sandhills Community House until it closed down in August.

A spokesperson for Aldwyck Housing Group, said: “Aldwyck Housing Group has followed its health and safety procedure to ensure that all of its staff and members of the public are not at risk while using the facilities at Greenfields. The organisation would love the Sandhills Singing Choir to perform at the venue but unfortunately it has not been possible for suitable arrangements to be made. We hope that in future they will be able to become an integral part of the Greenfields community.”