Rame Male Voice Choir raise £15,000 for hospital equipment

A campaign by Rame Peninsula Male Voice Choir campaign to help fund molecular diagnostic equipment for Derriford hospital has reached almost £15,000.

Over Christmas, the Cornish community opened its hearts and wallets in a bid to save lives. Choir chairman Clive Brinkmann presented a £10,000 cheque to Derriford oncology molecular biologist Dr Jo Farrugia[at their Kingsand Christmas concert. This was described as ‘an interim cheque’ – but in little over a month, a further £5000 has poured in.

Dr Farrugia explained the role of the equipment at concerts, and victims spoke movingly about their treatment. In expressing her gratitude Dr Farrugia said she was astonished at what the community had achieved through a small group prepared to challenge the strictures on the cash-strapped NHS.

No stone has been left unturned: concerts, carol-singing, raffles, lobster pots and boats auctioned, old vinyl records and jewellry sold, sponsored total immersion in Plymouth Sound . . .

The choir’s folk, sea shanty and 60s rock ensemble, Halfway Harmony – including members in their 70s – raised more than £600, participating in the Lions’ New Year swim in Cawsand Bay. ‘Curly’s Allsorts’ were paying tribute to David ‘Curly’ Milsom of St Clear, a serial dipper over many years who helped raise thousands for charities such as Shelterbox.

Having swum last year, in aid of Mesothelioma support, Curly succumbed to cancer during the summer. His mates did him proud with a nod to Curly’s questionable sartorial judgement in his choice of socks.

Cawsand’s Malcolm Baker, star of the award-winning documentary, Last Fisherman, donated a traditional lobster pot which fetched £110 at auction.

An outdoor carol and folk concert by Halfway Harmony at Fort Picklecombe raised a staggering £2100. Most touchingly, one resident, Brian Rayden, donated £824 in memory of his late wife, Teresa ‘Terry’ Bennett, who died of cancer just a month after they married in 2016. Part of the donation was from the sale of her records and jewellery. And HSBC then generously match-funded a chunk of the Picklecombe proceeds.

The money will be used in a bid to improve access to life-saving molecular diagnostic equipment used to treat cancer.  There are only five such machines in the UK, and patients from more remote parts of Cornwall face a round trip of 400 miles to the nearest, in Bristol.

The Rame choir launched their initiative in July, having lost several members to the illness. They approached colleagues in the Cornish Federation of Male Voice Choirs to help, and several have staged independent events to help swell the Derriford Oncology Fund.

A number of concerts in the Rame area, including ones with Torpoint Lady Singers at St James’s, and another to mark the switch-on of Christmas lights in Millbrook, have been attended by choristers from more remote Cornish choirs, and in the tradition of ‘one and all,’ the Rame men have returned the compliment.

Fisherman ‘Bumps’ Baker, in addition to raffling one of his pots, donated £700 from a wooden boat renovated by disadvantaged teenagers in a project which has won international acclaim through a film made on the Peninsula.

It won the Ocean Culture award in the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, and the Kodiak award in Anchorage, Alaska. More no-budget than low-budget, it is listed for several other awards worldwide, and uses the Rame choir’s music as its soundtrack.

It was made over several years in Kingsand and Cawsand, as the film’s co-directors were taught to fish by Baker, living off the catch and vegetables from his allotment.

The film features how they helped teach disadvantaged social misfits from around Europe to renovate boats, learn to sail and fish, and in the process helped them become useful members of society on their return home.

The choir would like to thank the amazing generosity of the community in supporting what has been achieved. They rehearse every Wednesday (7.30pm, Kingsand Community Hall) and welcome visitors and new members.

The choir have organised a coach trip to Normandy and Brittany in April. It includes concerts and a visit to the D-Day beaches and museum. Departing April 18, via Cherbourg (April 19), returning from Roscoff on April 24. Good company, food, wine, and camaraderie guaranteed. A limited number of places are available for supporters. Interested parties should contact David Clarke: 01752 823617.
Visit rpmvc.org.uk


Curly’s all Sorts caption The five Dippers are (l to r): Martin Walsh, Kevin Weaver, Brian Dawson, David Clarke, and Bill Greene


First published in the Torpoint Advertiser – February 2018

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