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Mothers Union Edlesborough with Eaton Bray

Mother's Union17 members met in the Coffee Tavern at 2pm on 12th October. Sheila Heffer led the prayers, and after some business discussions we welcomed our guest speaker, Mr Norman Davies, who told us of his early life at a Choir School.

He was born in Peckham, the youngest of three sons. His Mother ran the family's sweet shop, and his father was a Postman. He remembered the toffee apples and ice cream, which they made.

At the age of about seven years, a School Master discovered that he had a very good singing voice, and his parent's began looking into the possibilities of him atending a choir school. Eventuallyat nine and a half, he auditioned and was accepted into All Saints Resident Choir School (London). So at the tender age of nine and a half he left home and went into the School. They slept in dormitories and had to be in bed at 8pm during the week, and 9pm on Sundays. The morning started by having a cold bath, followed by a run round the block, they were only allowed to go out in two's and then only for half an hour. They went from school via a tunnel for evensong, and on Sunday it was High Mass, so a great part of the day was spent singing, and rehearsing for the service. The whole context was very Victorian, in discipline particularly. This must have been a very traumatic experience for a nine and a half year old boy just having left family life. The slightest misdemeanor resulted in being caned.

In 1937, belonging to St Paul's Choir, Norman actually sang at the coronation of King George VI.

They had six weks holiday in the summer, but Christmas didn't start until after Christmas Day, when his Mother collected him to go home and join the family. He has been a member of St Mary's choir for about eight years.

Norman finished by singing "My Way" which he says sums up his life. We had tea at about 3.30pm with goodies supplied by Celia and June. We finished by saying grace at about 4pm.

-- Marjorie Cook
Mothers' Union


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