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Altrincham Duck HQ

Altrincham Duck

Helping Altrincham since 2014

Why Choir? 

by Rose de la Font and Aagash Vadera

You know that feeling when you’re singing in the car, or in the shower, or while doing the dishes,
or putting up the laundry? Belting out a banger, wherever and whenever that may be, seems to
dissolve the nuisances of the outside world (if only until the end of the song). It leads to some sort
of boundless bliss that only you are privy to. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life, and being
the architect of both is a satisfying freedom.

Well - take that feeling, multiply it by 50, and you approach the heights of joy reserved for CHOIR!
There has been in recent times a change in the public attitude towards communal singing
activities. No longer exclusive to church hymns, it has become a serious (and not so serious)
hobby in its own right. Choirs are certainly having a moment in the sun. Now that the sun-dappled
courtyards are ready to welcome the gaggle of choral sounds, it seems appropriate to make the
case for why we all should be engaging with our inner Gareth Malone. So here follows three of
many reasons (the aforementioned notwithstanding):

1. It’s good for you
Choir improves your physical, emotional, and social well-being. That may be three reasons in
one, but it stands to bear: the benefits of choir to the individual are myriad. The fundamentals of
healthy singing include controlling your breathing, maintaining a good posture, and releasing
tension in your body. Singing is a stress-reliever, confidence-booster and friend-maker. It’s a shot
of mental alertness, improving your concentration and memory. In a choir, there’s no choice but to
be in the moment, as part of a whole, with the same goal as those around you. It’s mindfulness in

2. It’s good for the people around you
Choirs don’t just sing together; they laugh together, mess up together, sound like a racket
together and have fun together. If there’s a part of you that is apprehensive about singing out loud
in a group of strangers there’s solace that it’s mutual - the fear is shared, as is the joy! What’s
more, the mind that’s always curious, learning, and looking for new hobbies is a happier one. And
if you can share that hobby with others, isn’t that better?
3. It’s good for the communitySociety seems to have cottoned on to the indispensability of communal activities. The essential
nature of people to come together, in whatever form, simply for the feeling of being together,
without a screen to mediate (or a mute button), is crucial to our wellbeing, and recent events have
only amplified this. Choir is a fun, healthy and social way to explore a new hobby that may leave
you feeling like an interconnected node in a network. I won’t go as far as to say it’s the elevation
of the individual to a kind of collective consciousness, nor that the transcendence itself is a kind of
magic, nor that it leads to all your worries being momentarily suspended in devotion to a greater
goal. That would be a bit dramatic!
After all, it’s only choir.

Rose is a singing and piano teacher with a passion for choirs. If you are interested in joining one
of her new community pop choirs based in Altrincham and Chorlton you can find more information
on her website:



PEOPLE across the region are being encouraged to look beyond Lockdown by making a date to join Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Cheshire.   


The charity’s much-loved events are aiming to return to the county later in the year but with socially distanced measures to help keep participants safe. Anyone who signs up this January can claim a special 30 per cent off the entry fee by using the code JAN2021.  


COVID-19 has caused a devastating loss of research funding. Cancer Research UK is predicting a staggering £300 million drop in income over the next three years which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk. That’s why the charity is calling on men, women and children to fight back against the devastating disease by entering a Race for Life event. Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives. 


Every year around 42,300 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West* and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.**  


The Race for Life events take place at Tatton Park on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June and are open to people of all ages and abilities.  


Caitlin Holme, Cancer Research UK’s Event Manager for Cheshire, said: “All 400 mass-participation Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic. So this year, more than ever, we need people to come together and help beat the disease. 


“The truth is, COVID-19 has slowed us down. But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.  


“Every step our scientists take towards beating cancer relies on our supporters. Our Race for Life events are open to all and we’re sending a heart-felt message to everyone to come together in 2021. As always at our events, the health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers is our top priority. It may be that events look a little different this year but we are working proactively with our venues and suppliers to deliver a socially distanced but great experience.” 


Participants will set off on the course either alone or in small socially distanced groups. Hand sanitiser will also be provided at all events with participants encouraged to use it before and after the event.  


Caitlin explained: “Although ‘Race’ features in the name, our events are not competitive. Instead, ‘the Race for Life’ is about our doctors, nurses and scientists working as hard and fast as possible to help more people survive. 


“We’ll ask participants to respect social distancing before, during and after the event. It means that this year people should refrain from hugging others at the finish line. But we promise our events will remain fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting.  


“Participants, all united in a common cause to beat cancer, take part at their own pace. For some people, the Race for Life is literally a walk in the park. Slow and steady still wins. For others, it’s a jog or a run. But what is for certain is we’re looking forward to welcoming people across Cheshire back. 


“We hope that none of our Race for Life events are cancelled in 2021 and will do everything we can to keep people safe. If we do have to cancel any of our events we will let participants know as soon as possible and they will be entitled to a refund.” 


Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research. This year is the 20th anniversary of Tesco’s partnership with Race for Life. 


Money raised through Race for Life events funds world-class research to help beat 200 types of cancer – including bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, brain cancer, children’s cancers and leukaemia.  


Caitlin added: “The Race for Life is a powerful, inspirational movement which unites participants in Cheshire with people across the North West and the whole of the UK. 


“People get together and remember loved ones lost, or celebrate the lives of those who have survived.  At the same time, they are helping to make a difference to people with the disease, right now.  


“Please go to the Race for Life website, choose an event, and sign up today.” 


To enter, visit 

SHOP managers from Cancer Research UK’s Altrincham store have launched an urgent appeal for volunteers after seeing a massive drop in the number of supporters able to help out.

While stock donations increased immediately after lockdown, the number of volunteers returning plummeted by nearly half in some shops.

The situation has prompted a nationwide call for help as the charity battles to claw back millions of pounds in lost income and get life-saving research back on track.

Last year Cancer Research UK shops in England raised more than £75 million. But with shop closures and event cancellations, the charity is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income across the UK in the year ahead.

To help boost the recruitment appeal, the charity has enlisted the support of its event managers who have returned from furlough following the cancellation of more than 400 events including Race for Life across the UK.

Tony Tetlow, Area Support Manager for Cancer Research UK shops in the North West, said: “We’re very lucky to have a great team in Altrincham but sadly not all our volunteers have been able to return, largely due to health reasons. After the first lockdown eased, many shops were operating with only half the usual number of volunteers.

“The situation has improved a little since then but we’re still 30 per cent down on volunteer numbers. That’s why we’re appealing to anyone who can to give the gift of their time this winter. We are in particular need of volunteers on Saturdays.

“Our shop volunteers are like family to us so it was heart-breaking to close our doors and stay at home during lockdown. I can’t stress enough how vital these volunteers are. Without their help, we simply would not be able to fund our outstanding doctors, nurses and scientists.”

Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK currently funds around 50 per cent of all cancer research in the UK.
However, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the charity expects to see its fundraising income decline by up to 30 per cent in the financial year ahead – putting this research at risk.
Josephine Mewett, head of retail operations at Cancer Research UK, said: “The fight is on to continue our research to save lives and our amazing army of volunteers are right at the heart of our efforts. COVID-19 has slowed us down but we will never stop.

“Thanks to research, two in four people survive their cancer for at least 10 years and our ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, three in four people will survive their cancer. But the truth is that COVID-19 has hit us hard. With a devastating impact on our income, we’re making difficult decisions to reduce the scale and scope of our work.

“With around 41,100 people diagnosed with cancer every year in the North West region* we’re determined to get back on track and our volunteers have been critical to that effort.

“When shops reopened at the end of June, our volunteers rolled up their sleeves to help us get back to business. However, many have not been able to return. So we now need almost 3,500 extra volunteers across the UK to come forward.

“We take their safety extremely seriously and we have strict COVID procedures in place to enable our shops to operate safely. That includes keeping anyone at risk at home, even if it means fewer volunteers in our stores.”

Last year Cancer Research UK spent more than £33 million in the North West supporting life-saving research, helping to fund scientists working on clinical trials, earlier detection, personalised medicine and cancer prevention.
There are lots of different jobs people can help with in stores from sorting donated stock, steaming and labelling clothing to serving at the till.

Tony added: “No experience is necessary to apply, just motivation and the desire to be part of a team.

“Many volunteers come in just one morning or afternoon a week, or sometimes just help over the busy lunchtime period. A few hours can make a huge difference and it can be a great way of adding to your CV. No matter how much time a person can give or what their experience, we are urging people to get in touch.

“Our feedback shows that volunteers tend to smile more, feel less stressed and more useful and generally more positive about having found a new purpose in life. There’s a real sense of camaraderie and all pulling together for one reason – to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”

To sign up or to find out more about volunteering, visit: Click to visit


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