BOTH the Shaldon Singers and their appreciative audience enjoyed a memorable Christmas concert remembering Rosemary Rickett.

Enthusiastic singer in the second sopranos, past chairman and committee member, and long-standing friend to many, Ro was influential in the development of the choir. She died in 2020.

The Singers were directed by Tim Crompton and accompanied by organist Andrew Millington in a programme of festive music in St Peter’s Church.

Several members of Ro’s family were able to attend, coming from as far afield as Cambridge.

The Rev Sue Astbury read a touching tribute, ‘Memories of Ro’, and the choir sang one of her favourite pieces of music, Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus.

Leon Winston gave a short talk describing the work of the Helen Foundation, and £530 was raised in a retiring collection for the charity.

The programme included pieces by two contemporary composers: Eric Whitacre’s Seal Lullaby, an enchanting setting of words by Rudyard Kipling, and Ola Gjeilo’s Northern Lights, a musical evocation of the patterns of the aurora borealis.

A highlight was Andrew Millington’s two seasonal organ solos, a chorale prelude by JS Bach and a thrilling chorale and variations by Flor Peeters. Ida Skinner read the poem ‘Just doing my job’ by Clare Bevan, and choir and audience joined in singing some favourite carols.

Chairman Ann Pardoe said: ‘When Ro became Chairman in 2001, she had a clear vision of how she wanted the Singers to develop as a choral society.

‘The choir flourished under her watchful eye and she was the leading light in the development of the Singers.

‘In her final report as Chairman in 2007, Ro said that since she had joined the choir, she had seen the Singers treble their membership and grow from strength to strength in their performances. This was in a great part due to her inspiration.

‘Her great enjoyment was always evident in the enthusiastic way that she sang. When she became gravely ill, one of her wishes was to be remembered by all of us singing together, particularly in the carols for choir and audience.’

Everyone in St Peter’s Church was happy to fulfil her wish.