BEN Rhydding Community Choir will give their first public indoor performance since 2019, on Saturday, July 9th.

The concert will be raising funds for the UK Charity Give A Child A Hope, which supports the work of The Revival Centre in Matugga, Uganda.

Many Ilkley folk will be familiar with the work of this charity and Bishop Ivan Lugoloobi, who founded the Revival Centre with its schools and clinic. The charity has had strong connections with St. John’s Church, Ben Rhydding, for over 20 years.

Ben Rhydding Community Choir’s director, Keely Hodgson, wife of Peter Willox, Vicar of St. John’s Church, set up the choir in 2011 to draw people from the local community together to support Give A Child A Hope by rehearsing once a month to learn songs for an annual fund-raising concert.

At the start of the covid pandemic the nation’s choirs fell silent, and some choirs did not return. But after a period of Zoom singing and outdoor gatherings whatever the weather, Ben Rhydding Community Choir resumed indoor rehearsals in September 2021.

Keely said: “By 2019 we had a membership of 60 singers from Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, and beyond and membership is growing back.

“We are delighted to be able to hold a concert again. The community in Matugga has been hard-hit by the pandemic. Those people who volunteered in the past to lend their help and skills could not travel there. The community has also suffered food shortages and other hardships. We are keen to do our bit by singing to raise money for Give A Child A Hope once more.”

The choir will be joined by members of Transpennine Harps and four-piece Otley-based ukulele band, Ullalele.

Sing for Matugga! A concert of Music & Song at St. John’s Church, Ben Rhydding is on Saturday, July 9th at 6.30pm. Doors open at 6pm.

Tickets - £12 for adults (under 16s free) - can be booked through the Ticketsource website: Sing for Matugga event.