A BASINGSTOKE choir is celebrating after raising more than £1,000 for a children's charity through its Christmas concert.

Hampshire Harmony held its Christmas concert on Saturday, December 2 at St Michael's Church in Basingstoke, where an audience of more than 200 enjoyed a fantastic programme of music.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Basingstoke, Cllr David Leeks and Mrs Amanda Leeks, also attended the event, along with the choir's patron, Maria Miller MP.

The concert raised funds for The Smile Train, a non-profit organisation and charity providing corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates. The concert managed to raise a whopping £1,400 for the charity.

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In the UK, if a child is born with a cleft lip or palate this can be repaired at an early age free of charge with the NHS.  In other parts of the world, this is not the case and children born with a cleft are often shunned by their community, this disability is seen as evil. 

These children have breathing problems and eating and drinking problems too. Smile Train provides free treatment, surgery and comprehensive care.

On Monday, January 29 a cheque presentation was held at Everest Community Academy, with musical director, Clare Oliver, accompanist Jonathan Hedgecock and members of the choir present for the virtual presentation.

The choir was joined on Zoom by Jonathan Roberts, from Smile Train.

Hampshire Harmony events coordinator, Tracey Messer, said: "The Christmas concert was a sell-out and the choir excelled in singing a mix of traditional and other seasonal songs being conducted by musical director Claire Oliver and supported by accompanist Jonathan Hedgecock.

“The sounds were excellent and the church acoustics were fabulous, so much so Hampshire Harmony will be returning to St Michael's this year on Saturday, November 30.

"The choir was thrilled that the concert raised £1,400 towards the charity Smile Train UK supporting children with cleft palates.”

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Basingstoke Gazette: Photos from choir practice and the cheque presentation on Monday, January 29Photos from choir practice and the cheque presentation on Monday, January 29 (Image: Hampshire Harmony)

When presented with the cheque, Jonathan said: "Thank you very much for raising such a fantastic sum of money. I've never done a virtual visit. My apologies that I couldn't be with you.

"Thank you for taking the time to support Smile Train by raising and donating to us to help change the lives of children around the world who are less fortunate than those born in the UK. 

"The money you have raised will provide free cleft treatment, comprehensive care, free surgery and the best possible life. Thank you to Ruth (choir member) for nominating us."

Hampshire Harmony is an energetic and forward-looking choir singing a wide range of genres and with an exciting rolling programme of new music, with rehearsals full of fun, laughter and entertainment.

It hosts numerous concerts throughout the year to help raise funds for a variety of charities.

More information on Hampshire Harmony can be found at  facebook.com/Hampshireharmonychoir or at hampshireharmony.org.