Students Staff

04 June 2010

Choir sings for veterans at Dunkirk

University of Essex choir at Dunkirk

Members of the University of Essex choir entertained veterans and their families on board a ferry as they marked the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk.

25 members of the choir, which is made up of staff, students and people from the wider Colchester community joined forces with the Royal Choral Society and Canterbury Choral Society to sing the National Anthem and popular hymns together with a range of popular Second World War Songs as they sailed from Dover to Dunkirk.

Choir member Margaret Harvey from Colchester said: 'It was a wonderful day. We sang songs like Lilli Marlene, White Cliffs of Dover and We'll Meet Again on deck and it was also broadcast right around the ferry.'

Margaret said the most moving part of the day was the Anglo-French official welcome at Dunkirk for the flotilla of Little Ships representing the many boats that had helped in the evacuation. The choir was joined by children from French and English schools who took part in the ceremony singing, scattering petals and releasing 15 white doves to fly back to Britain as a symbolic return to the shores of the UK.

'It was a long and hectic day but it was such a privilege to commemorate people who went though a lot more than early rising and long journeys. There are so many memories: Spitfires circling over the ship to honour the veterans; singing WW2 songs to the veterans as we passed the procession of the remaining Little Ships travelling from Ramsgate to Dunkirk; being part of 170 singers standing quietly in front of a large TV screen watching the news about the unfolding events of the day, a day which we were taking part in. It all felt very special.'

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