GALA EVENING RAISES THE ROOF
Local residents enjoyed a glorious Gala Evening presented by a host of entertainers who came together to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the Denstone branch of the Royal British Legion. There was an extra poignancy to the occasion as Tim Dawson, who had loyally served as secretary and treasurer to the Denstone branch over many years, and who had been a galvanising force in the planning of the evening, had very sadly died just a few days previously. Fittingly, the evening began with a minute’s silence in his memory, and heads were bowed as the Denstone and the Cheddleton standards were dipped in his honour.
The evening was a sell-out, and the audience was right royally entertained by solo artists Lionel Lethbridge, Paul Johnson and Susanne Smith, two singing groups – The Churnet Valley Male Voice Choir conducted by Janet Downing, and the Stubwood Singers directed by Susanne Smith – and finally a troupe of actors, directed by Dennis Parker, who performed a most amusing Dad’s Army sketch.
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The final item on the programme involved everybody – performers and audience alike - in a roof-raising sing-along of There’ll be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover, We’ll Meet Again and Land of Hope and Glory. The singing must have been heard all over the village.
‘It was a truly entertaining and heart-warming few hours,’ said Glan Jones, president of the branch and master of ceremonies for the evening. ‘Everybody entered into the fun of it, sang their hearts out and probably went home nursing some very sore throats.’