Supportive choir started with just a few members - it now has 50

Cottesmore Military Wives Choir at rehearsal EMN-141211-132829001
Cottesmore Military Wives Choir at rehearsal EMN-141211-132829001
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As an Army wife Jo Addison has had her fair share of relocations to new bases every two years.

When the 39-year-old mother of two moved to Kendrew Barracks, after her husband Sgt Tim was transferred from Colchester Barracks, she was determined to make friends and influence people in the new base.

The professional hair dresser set out to enlist wives and partners to form a choir.

As news of the Cottesmore Military Wives Choir spread wives, mothers, partners and daughters of servicemen from Kendrew Barracks, St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham, RAF Wittering and veterans from Oakham, as well as female service personnel swelled their 
ranks.

In January, the newly set up Cottesmore Military Wives Choir will give their first public performance at the Families and Friends Concert at Kendrew Barracks.

Jo Said: “I was involved in the choir in Colchester, but they didn’t have one at Kendrew Barracks.

“I had found it was a good way for wives and partners to support each other when their husbands are deployed overseas. So I contacted the Military Wives Choir Foundation.

“They said they were very happy for me to start one and were very supportive.”

The Foundation was set up by Gareth Malone, music director of the BBC television programme The Choir and Military Wives, a British choir group formed of 
wives, partners and service woman of British Military personnel located around the country.

Jo said: “We started off with a few members and now have over 50 women in the choir. It has been getting busier and busier.

“We all have the same things in common. We get together once a week and can support each other through good times and bad.”

Under the guidance of musical director Sarah Doyle and with pianist Diana De-Wett the group has been practising for the upcoming concert.

Their repertoire includes Gary Barlow’s Sing, as well as old time favourites such as Walking in Sunshine by Kimberley Rew for Katrina and the Waves’, Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey and Gareth Malone’s Stronger Together.

Julia Leong, who moved to RAF Wittering a few months ago after her husband Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Melvin was relocated to thee base, is communications officer for the Cottesmore Military Wives Choir.

She said: “Army, RAF and Navy are all represented within our choir.

“It’s all about women standing together and supporting each other, being ‘stronger together’.

“It helps us make friends and keep our minds occupied during difficult times.”

The group whose members range in age from 20 to 60 practise every Tuesday at Cottesmore Primary School.

Julia said: “The January concert will be our first. After that we will perform at events.”