A NEW plaque installed at Mouldon Hill Country Park to honour the 53 years of a popular local choir was blessed by a vicar yesterday.

The Kentwood Show Choir has been spreading joy and generosity with its singing and fundraising for more than half a century.

A commemorative plaque donated by the Swindon Rotary Club and Swindon Borough Council was placed in a patch in the park with five oak trees planted around it earlier this summer.

Simon Stevenette from Christ Church blessed the plaque in a small ceremony attended by choristers, Rotary club members, vice presidents of the choir and the Mayor of Swindon Maureen Penny.

The plaque was made for the choir’s 50th anniversary, though technically its founder Sheila Harrod set up the group that became the choir 53 years ago.

Sheila was overjoyed to receive this honour.

She said: “When I started this with five girls in my parents’ front room, little did I think that we would have what we have today.

“This is a big honour, we are thrilled, I don’t think many other groups have something like this.

“It was very moving to see several members and vice presidents of the choir here today and it’s nice to be recognised.

“Our motto is ‘Music is a fair and gracious gift from God, and the best from the highest.’ so it’s lovely that the Rotary club invited Simon to bless the area.

“We are very proud of the Rotary club, they do so much good and we are all happy and honorary Rotarians.”

Simon Stevenette said: “Thank you Lord for the gift of these trees and the gift of music.

“We should be strong, enduring and resilient like these oak trees.”

The choir has fundraised well over a million pounds for different charities over the years.

This year, after the government kindly doubled their total, they raised £3,800 for Hope for Children.

Mayor Penny said a few words of thanks before the choir performed a couple of songs to celebrate the blessing.

She said: “Thank you very much for everything you’ have done and all the hard work you’ve put in over the years.

“I always have a good time at your events, thank you for your contribution and your talents.”

Mary Sherratt, one of the club’s vice presidents, said: “It’s a wonderful thing that Sheila has done for all these years.

“I’ve made so many friends from being part of this choir.”