Lean on me

Members of St Teresa’s Hospice Staff and Supporters Choir perform live over the airwaves for its hard working nurses and staff

A hospice choir has sung out a message of thanks over the airwaves mobilising a community behind a good cause.

Members of St Teresa’s Hospice Staff and Supporters Choir (strictly social distancing) performed live to the BBC and out over Facebook in appreciation of nursing staff who are working through the pandemic to keep patients safe.

A peerless performance of the Bill Withers classic Lean on Me echoed around the grounds of the hospice on Woodland Road, Darlington, to an audience of health care workers. The choir was accompanied by hospice volunteer Peter Bradshaw on guitar.

At the same time it was streamed live over the internet and aired on BBC Look North’s news bulletin.

Hospice officials were overwhelmed with the public response as scores tuned in for the live performance and more than 10,000 viewed it on line, with many positive comments being left.

The choir was the latest organisation to rally to the support of the hospice which is facing unprecedented funding issues because of Covid-19.

Despite some Government support St Teresa’s is expected to run a significant deficit this year as countless fundraising opportunities have been lost to lockdown and the string of charity shops remain closed.

St Teresa’s Hospice needs to generate £3m every year to continue its in-patient, day hospice and community services for residents of Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

An emergency appeal was launched and people have been urged to donate at the Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/campaign/HugToStTs

​Chief Executive Jane Bradshaw said: “Our lovely choir is used to a warm welcome as it performs in the community but we have all been genuinely moved by the sheer scale of the response on this occasion.

“The number of people watching live and the thousands who watched later is staggering and the comments which have been left have been absolutely delightful and inspired us to do even more.”

The choir has met 130 times to either perform or rehearse since it was founded and has become an important element of the hospice’s fundraising efforts.

Mrs Bradshaw said: “Music is such a great medium to reach people. Singing has a wonderful therapeutic value and the choir has been a great release for many of our staff, who face high stress levels in their job roles, particularly at the moment. Performing for our hard working nurses and carers was an absolute privilege.”

The rendition of Lean on Me can be viewed at www.facebook.com/stteresashospice