Army Wives’ Choir Brings Harmony to Wattisham

A group of Army wives are starting to hit the high notes with support from the Royal British Legion.

Backed by a £1,000 donation from the Legion, the Wattisham Military Wives Choir has brought together wives and girlfriends from the base to support each other through a shared love of singing.

The choir was inspired by the success of the BBC series ‘The Choir: Military Wives’ and was set up at Wattisham Flying Station by Sally Wilkinson while her husband Capt Phil Wilkinson was serving in Afghanistan.  Regularly 35 women turn up for weekly rehearsals.

Colin Hawkins, the Legion’s Suffolk county chairman, said: “We’re delighted to support the Wattisham Military Wives’ Choir. Soldiers’ wives suddenly become single parent families when their husbands deploy and the choir is a great way for them to support each other and it sounds fantastic too.”

Sally said: “I was inspired by the TV show and just wanted to do something to bring wives at Wattisham together, to both have fun and look after each other while our husbands are away on operations. One or two women have a musical background, but most of us started from nothing more than singing in the shower!”

The choir, which is led by choirmaster Michael Dann, had its first performance at a function in the officers’ mess earlier this month.

Sally said: “Everyone was apprehensive and neither the choir nor the audience really knew what to expect. But it went very well, which boosted everyone’s confidence and there are some strong voices beginning to emerge.”

Clare Ellard, whose husband L/Cpl Luke Ellard was deployed to Afghanistan, said: “For me, the choir is two hours a week to just enjoy myself and forget all my worries. Luke thinks it’s brilliant and asks every time we speak what the choir’s been singing. Recordings of our rehearsals have been sent out to Afghanistan. It lets the guys know that their wives are looking out for each other back home and that helps them concentrate on their jobs.”

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