Fishwives choir seeks Scarborough members

submitted pic - The Fishwives Choir in rehearsal.    06/04/13
submitted pic - The Fishwives Choir in rehearsal. 06/04/13
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A national fishwives choir which is soon to appear on The One Show is looking for ladies who would like to join from the Scarborough area.

The choir, which has also appeared on BBC Breakfast, has attracted members from all over the country, but as yet does not have any from our area.

It was set up by Jane Dolby, who lost her trawlerman husband Colin three years ago. Colin died at sea after his fishing vessel was caught in a freak storm just off the Essex coast in Shoeburyness.

His body was missing for almost year and Jane and her four children were devastated – not only emotionally but financially too because a death certificate cannot be issued without a body, so she could not prove her husband was dead.

Their youngest child was just three years old at the time.

Inspired by the success and popularity of other choirs such as Glee, The Port Isaac Fisherman’s Friends, The Rock Choir and of course the Military Wives, Jane embarked upon a project to fund raise for the charity which provided so much help to her following the loss of her husband.

Her plan is to record a single and have all the profits go to The Fishermen’s Mission charity but what started as a small idea has grown beyond all expectations.

Jane explained: “I’ve been helped so much by The Fishermen’s Mission and I had an idea for putting together a choir called ‘The Fishwives’ to sing to raise money for the charity.

“Last summer, I posted a little note on Facebook asking any women connected to commercial fishermen if they were interested in joining. I hoped a couple of the local girls may reply.

“But when I logged into my Facebook account that night, the note had been shared across the social networks and I’d had over 100 responses not only from women related to fishermen from all over the UK asking to join but from TV, newspaper and radio journalists too.

“It was an incredible and totally unexpected response and in a matter of a few weeks our choir had members dotted all over the UK.”

Since then, Jane and the other choir members have appeared on BBC Breakfast Television and on regional radio all over the UK and Northern Ireland, ITV news, Scottish television and most recently they embarked on a filming project with the BBC Inside Out to bring their story to the public attention and highlight the situation of what happens when there is a death without a body.

“With choir members, many of whom have never sung before, located all over the UK, rehearsals have been quite a challenge,” admits Jane.

“There are now over 70 choir women from the Highlands of Scotland to the Channel Islands. The ladies include mums, wives, girlfriends, sisters aunts and even grannies of fishermen.

“I did try these crazy Skype rehearsals but it was just impossible with all the delay but I had to find a way of helping the ladies learn to sing and prepare for the recording.

“I’ve solved the geographical problem with the help of two amazing girls called Tommy Ludgate and Sarah Grace who run a voice coaching and choir organization called Globe Jam.

“Tommy and Sarah have created a series of online vocal workshops on YouTube especially for the Fishwives and the ladies have all been practicing their singing and breathing exercises in front of the tuition videos.”

The group is set to meet in Hastings later this month to record a single, with help from Jon Cohen and Phil Da Costa from the Military Wives production.

After that, Jane would like to take up the many invitations the choir has had to perform at fishing festivals, folk festivals and maritime-related venues and events.

She said: “What I’d love is to have a Fishwives Choir in every region of the UK where there are still fishing fleets so I would love to hear from any women related to fishermen who’d be interested in joining us.”

Email Jane at fishwiveschoir@live.co.uk