Reg highlights the pull of the choir

THE HUGELY popular Dalesmen Male Voice Choir boasts something no other choir in the country can.

For one of their members is in fact the oldest man in the UK!

And not only that, 108-year-old Rev Reg Dean is also the choir’s president.

Sprightly Reg, a retired minister, still attends choir practice, which is at the Strutts Centre on Derby Road, Belper, when he can. He turns 109 in November.

And now John England, who is vice-chairman of the choir, hopes Reg, of Wirksworth, will be at a hastily arranged charity concert on Friday, August 19.

“He is a real live wire,” said John. “He was still singing with us until a few years ago, but sadly we are no longer privileged to hear his lovely second bass voice.

“He will probably be at the concert on August 19.”

The concert is in aid of the Friends of Babington Hospital and is in the main hall at the Strutts Centre at 7.30pm. It costs £6 to get in and you can pay on the door.

John, of Duffield, said: “We have been associated with Babington Hospital for a while now. We go to the hospital sometimes and sing to patients.

“The Friends asked us to put on a concert.”

The Dalesmen Male Voice Choir was formed in 1987 by a small band of enthusiasts in the Derbyshire Dales, with their main aim being to enjoy singing together and to add to the musical life of the area.

Since that time it has grown into a highly successful group of choristers and its current musical director is Richard Hayward.

The Dalesmen perform at about 30 events per year and, in recent years, have done tours in England, Wales, Ireland and France.

Most recently, in June, the choir joined forces with the Penrhryn Male Voice Choir in Llandudno, Wales, to raise funds and to celebrate 150 years of a lifeboat serving the town.

The choir has about 65 members. Rehearsals take place every Monday at Strutts, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

John said: “We are improving all the time and becoming quite a good choir now.”

Also, the choir has links with the supremely talented Operababes, who became famous for singing the song used by ITV used for their World Cup 2002 programming. John’s daughter, Karen England is one of the ‘babes’ alongside Rebecca Knight.

As part of the Operababes, Duffield-born Karen has performed for the Queen and took to the stage in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as performing with various orchestras worldwide.