Last week we held the penultimate concert in our long programme. This concert was held in aid of the Lions International and so the money raised will go towards their good works in the local community but also to worthy charity appeals around the world. As a choir we may never know exactly where the money our concerts raise finds its ultimate home. We do know, however, that we can rely on the organisations we help to make it effective as we choose them carefully. On the night of this concert we had competition from an important rugby match but a good audience turned out all the same.
The big thing on our radar now is our tour to Malta. This is the culmination of a long year of concerts where we have invited many “friends” from other choirs and bands. We are grateful to their support and we have enjoyed all of their visits and their company.
So we will now take the flag of Tenby to Malta a country with great links to the UK especially in the second world war where it was of course awarded the George cross, the only time that this award has gone to a country rather than an individual, reflecting the thought that on that tiny Island virtually everyone deserved to be honoured. Some of us are from cities that were bombed heavily in the war but I don’t know if any of them even London took the prolonged bombing that Malta did.
I mentioned in a report some weeks ago that one of our members has a link to Malta in that George Pryce actually delivered Spitfires to the island during his Royal Navy service and so he played his part in helping it survive and provide such a strategic benefit to our own defence. So we gave them a George Pryce and then a George cross.
Another link to Malta for the choir is that our president radio presenter Roy Noble is a commander of the Order of St. John which of course has great connections with Malta going back to the days of the crusades and indeed the Order was once based in Malta and ran a health service for the Maltese people. It also built hospitals which remain there today.
Recently Roy told me a little more about his personal history from the perspective of the Order of St. John. He was invited to join the order in March 2000 and as he put it, “this seemed a natural thing to accept” as his wife Elaine’s father had been a member of St. John’s ambulance brigade, Aberaman division, Aberdare. He tells me they still have photos of him in his uniform on their wall at home. He also recalled the strong relationships that the brigade has with the collieries in terms of first aid and mines rescue units.
Roy is the son of a collier whose grandfather was killed in a coalmine, a day he remembers well but obviously with sadness. Roy is extremely disappointed that he can’t travel with us due to other commitments as despite his association he has never yet been able to visit Malta.
But he sent us a message to say “God Speed to everyone travelling. The choir will fly the flag for Tenby and Wales magnificently well, I’m certain and Elaine and I will be thinking of you with a large measure of envy.” And he has also kindly provided funds with which we will toast his health in Malta.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays now until we travel we have only rehearsals at the County Club so if you would like to get to know us come along. It will be a chance to learn the Maltese national anthem in Maltese, something which we look forward to with trepidation. The language does not look easy being descended from Siculo-Arabic with which few of us are conversant. But then we have people from various parts of England and “little England beyond Wales” who have coped with the Welsh language so we should manage.
The choir website is at www.tenbymalechoir.org and you can read or even add to our Guestbook from the home page. We also have a Facebook account if you want to be one of our Friends.