Retiring major holds charity brass concert

Steve Whittingham, who is retiring from the Salvation Army after 24 years
Steve Whittingham, who is retiring from the Salvation Army after 24 years

A Salvation Army major has arranged a charity concert in aid of young people as part of his retirement ceremony.

Major Steve Whittingham, 65, is holding the concert at Christ Church, Moreton Hall, on Saturday April 29, at 7pm.

Money from the concert will go to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and also a music project for schools in Bedford, where he has also worked.

Major Whittingham is currently church leader of Lavenham Salvation Army and also supports his wife Christine, with her work as church leader of Bury St Edmunds Salvation Army.

He has served in the Salvation Army for 24 years and during that time, the couple have moved house nine times.

Salvation Army officers are ministers of religion and appointments change periodically to ensure the charity remains open to new ideas.

“We have been stationed all over the country, from East London, to Essex, South Yorkshire, West Scotland, West Midlands and Dorset,” said Major Whittingham, who also lives in Moreton Hall.

“It was Christine’s work that brought us to Bury St Edmunds a year ago and it is a lovely town in which to retire.

“For the first six months, while Christine took up her work here, I continued to commute to Bedford each day where I was working as a prison chaplain.

“Working in prisons has been the majority of my work, a great privilege, and both demanding as well as fulfilling.”

The charity concert at Moreton Hall will feature Bedford Salvation Army brass band and vocal soloist Hazel Launn.

Mrs Launn is a member of the Salvation Army’s premier choir, the International Staff Songsters.

Major Whittingham will also play in the concert as a former tenor horn player with the Bedford-based band.

“Some of the money will also go towards a music project, called Just Brass, to buy instruments for school children in Bedford,” added Major Whittinghham.