Singalong lifts village spirits

THE residents of Byfleet are taking part in a mass singalong from their gardens and streets to bring some cheer to the local community.

Kia, who starts the song each week with a dance, and her mum Katie

Byfleet Sings was set up by former professional singer Helen Garth, who had to give up her career five years ago after suffering from pneumonia, which has caused permanent damage to her lungs and led to blood clots.

Helen had to use a wheelchair after having eight operations on her hip and now sometimes has to use crutches.

Singalong organiser Helen Garth

“I am on my own and am self-isolating,” Helen said. “When the first ‘clapping for the NHS’ happened I felt I wasn’t alone and so decided to do this singalong.”

Helen has set up a Facebook page and members of the group give their song choices. She cuts this down into a shortlist, which is then put to the vote and the favourite one selected for a mass performance across the village each Friday at 8pm.

Helen puts a mic and speaker in her garden and leads the singalong.

Many of the songs so far have had meanings to do with the coronavirus crisis, such as “All You Need is Love” and “Stand By Me,” while others are simply rousing classic pop songs, including “Sweet Caroline” and “Build Me Up, Buttercup”.

Members of Byfleet Sings shared photos of themselves taking part in the singalong on their Facebook page

“My neighbour brings her daughter Kia to the end of my garden and she dances while we sing,” Helen said.

Byfleet Sings has spread across the village with some people setting up a sound system and others singing along to the track on their phone.

“It is spreading and I had someone from Addlestone contact me saying they wished they could join in and I said ‘why not?’,” Helen said.

She added: “It’s an exciting community project that brings our village together each week. It’s brought me a lot of joy knowing I’m not alone. Even the weeks I didn’t feel like it the village has picked me up again.” 

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