Last show at Fountains Abbey by The Harp Singers

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A colourful North Yorkshire singing group is to give its last public performance next week.

The Harp Singers, a dozen-strong mixed choir which performs in Victorian dress, will give its farewell recital, a programme of carols, in the Cellarium at Fountains Abbey on December 22 at 3pm.

"We’ve been hit by the nationwide shortage of tenors," said assistant conductor and founder member Ralph Robinson.

"Our last tenor moved away from the area last year and despite determined attempts to recruit others, we have failed to find a permanent one. For Fountains Abbey, we have imported a couple of temporary singers to fill the gap."

In their 14 years, the Singers have raised thousands of pounds for charity. They came together at Christmas 1998 to generate funds for Action Research – hence the name Harp which stands for Help Action Research Projects.

After that, they sang for other charities, mostly medical, including a British-Russian charity Downside Up, which helps downs syndrome children.

Chairman Henry Thompson said : "This Christmas we are singing for two cancer charities, Herriot Hospice Homecare and Macmillan Nurses, in memory of one of our members, Jackie Robinson, who died this year. "

Over the years the singers have performed in stately homes, churches, village halls, pubs and restaurants and in 2006 they appeared on the television programme Dales Diary.

Access to the performance on December 22, is free after paying for entry to Fountains Abbey.

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