The Manchester and District Hospitals’ choir performed last week to mark 47 consecutive years of generating money for charity during the festive period.

Bridgewater Hall Stage

The concert took place at 7.30pm on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 of December at the Bridgewater Hall and raised money for Young Lives vs Cancer run by CLIC Sargent through ticket sales and bucket collection.

Last year’s event raised just over £6,000 in the bucket collection alone and the group’s Treasurer Martin Lupton said that over the past 10 years they have raised around £125,000 for this particular cause.

This started in memory of Malcolm Sargent, a famous conductor who died of cancer in October 1967, and was organised by his personal assistant Sylvia Darley.

It was designed as a fundraiser for the ‘Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children’.

Choir book from 2018

Sylvia Pritchard, 74, a choir member and in charge of carol sponsors, of Stockport, said: “Right from the very word go it was a prestigious choir.

“It was always supported by the leaders in Manchester like the mayor.

“People like Clark Rundell and Jonathan Scott knew it as a prestigious choir before they joined.”

Mrs Pritchard, who has been with the choir since the beginning in 1972, went on to say that they also previously performed at both the Free Trade Hall and Albert Hall in Manchester.

The carol service began to raise money for CLIC Sargent after it was founded in 2005 due to the two charities ‘CLIC’ and ‘Sargent Cancer Care for Children’ merging together.

Judith Marsden, a committee member, of Bolton, said: “There are around 230 to 250 people involved in the choir.

“At first it was just hospital staff, now it consists of both NHS and non-NHS staff.”

As this has grown through its many years of activity, there have been alterations made which brought in guest primary schools from around Greater Manchester from 2003, then the CLIC Sargent performers in 2013.


  1. I believe I sang in that first choir and have held the memory since and of singing in the Albert Hall too. The ave verum chorus stays with me and I wondered if it was sung in one of the early concerts?

  2. Margaret May

    Dear Sue Ward
    I sang in the first performance of the choir in the Free Trade Hall and continued to do so until I moved to Surrey, I was on the L.P. that was recorded live, unfortunately I lent it to a college and it was never returned but like you I have my memories, I know we sang Ave Verum but I can’t remember what year, I am now happily retired and living in Fuerteventura

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