East Anglian singers raise £7k for charity in memory of Thetford member

Cheque presentation by Discord to East Anglian Air Ambulance. Michael Dann and pilot Steven Norris (front) with members Mary Thomas and Marilyn Barrett, and EAAA crew members. ANL-150427-122441001
Cheque presentation by Discord to East Anglian Air Ambulance. Michael Dann and pilot Steven Norris (front) with members Mary Thomas and Marilyn Barrett, and EAAA crew members. ANL-150427-122441001
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A community of East Anglian singers has raised almost £7,000 for a regional charity which helped one of their members before her tragic death last year.

Discord, set up by musician Michael Dann in 2011, presented a cheque of £6,950 to the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) on April 24.

More than 300 members from the group’s six choirs in south Norfolk and north Suffolk, including in Thetford and Stowmarket, raised money at concerts last year including a Christmas concert in Croxton Church, a performance en masse for Diss Rotary Club.

Their fund-raising drive was in memory of Ruth Goldsmith, a member of Discord’s 30-strong Thetford group, who passed away following a heart attack despite treatment from the EAAA team.

Mr Dann said: “Following Ruth’s sudden death where the air ambulance were called out but couldn’t save her, we chose EAAA.

“It was Ruth’s chosen charity and it was something all our members may be thankful of at some point.”

After the cheque presentation, Mr Dann and members of Discord were shown around EAAA’s Cambridge site, touring its aircraft and equipment and meeting the team.

Discord members Mary Thomas and Marilyn Barrett went along to give messages of thanks to the crew for saving members of their families.

Of the Discord ethos, Mr Dann said: “Discord was set up to promote wellbeing from singing – there’s lots of medical evidence to show singing with a group of people can release those good endorphins and it most certainly does.

“Many members tell me they can’t sing but when you’re among lots of others singing it really doesn’t matter, and in fact for those that do (or think they) struggle being in a group it helps them no end.”

Since Mr Dann set up Discord’s first group in Diss in January 2011, another four classes have started up in Thetford, Stowmarket, Attleborough and Debenham as well as another in Diss.

The groups have so far raised more than £15,000 for charities including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (Each) and Cancer Research.

The Thetford group and others will be performing at the Carnegie Room in Thetford in September.

To find out more about Discord or to sign up, go to www.michaeldann.co.uk.