No singing victory for Lewisham NHS Trust

Lewisham NHS Trust Choir

Staff from Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust lost out last night in the final BBC’s ‘Sing While You Work’ 

In the program four of Britain’s busiest workplaces have choirs set up and led by choirmaster Gareth Malone.

The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust Choir consists of 30 members of staff, amongst them surgeons, nurses, a pharmacy porter and a speech therapist.

They were picked by Malone after auditioning, in an episode aired in September.

After going through in the semi-finals aired on BBC last Thursday they performed in tonight’s episode in front of an audience of thousands at the choral music festival “the International Eisteddfod” in Llangollen, Wales.

They were up against Bristol Royal Mail and Seven Trent Water, a Midlands-based water company.

The three judges deciding on the winner were conductor Manvinder Rattan, gospel singer Ruby Turner and formed head of music at Eton College, Ralph Allwood.

The Lewisham NHS Trust sang a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s ‘For Once In My Life’ dressed in floral and blue outfits to represent the NHS colours.

Bristol Royal Mail performed ‘Don’t Stop’ by Fleetwood Mac.

Speaking after the performance, Caroline Harbord, lead physiotherapist, said: “It was fab. Just really fab. We all came together and everyone sung their best”.

“What I loved about it was it felt like a show. It was not laid-back at all, it was really fun and energetic. I thought they made a cracking job”, said Malone.

But it was Seven Trent Water’s version of “Feelin’ Good” that wooed the judges and was crowned “Gareth’s Best Workplace Choir”.

Last year Malone’s winning choir ‘Military Wives’ became a Christmas single no. 1 hit. It is unclear whether the winning choir this year is to release a single.

In September, choir member Eddie Chaloner, a consultant vascular surgeon, sparked debate  after branding the program “misleading” and “mendacious”.

In an interview in Radio Times magazine he said: “The programme-makers knew exactly how they were going to play this.

“They’d put different people in different stereotypes in order to display how we all come together in an example of wonderful musicianship.

But a spokeswoman for Twenty Productions Limited, the production company behind the show said:

“It is not uncommon for contributors to feel worried about the way they come across on screen before a programme transmits. Eddie Chaloner has not yet seen the episode in which he appears.”

The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust employs over 3000 staff, and is spread across 14 sites with more than 200 departments.

Malone said about working with the trust:

“You never normally get to go back-stage at a healthcare trust, and I hope that the show will give people a sense of how committed the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are.  Everyone lives and breathes their jobs.”

You can watch the final on BBC iPlayer.

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