Royal backing has been given to a concert to be played out next month by schoolchildren in aid of residents affected by the devastating floods in Tadcaster.
Organiser, Tadcaster Grammar School’s Big Band leader Gillian Hainsworth, contacted Buckingham Palace to invite HRH Prince Andrew to attend the performance at the Riley-Smith Hall after the Duke of York’s recent visit to the flood stricken town.
“His visit had an incredible impact on the local community, who are still so desperately trying to rebuild their homes and businesses,” said Gillian.
Although The Duke of York has declined because of previous engagements, he has sent his good wishes via his Private Secretary, who has also offered support through their twitter account and has put the school in touch with relevant organisations to help boost fundraising.
Similarly, the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP has a prior commitment and is also unable to attend, but has sent a good wishes message.
“I witnessed the devastation resulting from the floods and saw first-hand the impact those floods had on the townsfolk when I helped with the clean-up operation,” said Mrs Hainsworth.
“I was sent across to the East side of the bridge where I helped businesses adjacent to the river, but primarily helped at Tadcaster Medical Centre.
“The heartbreak, despair and raw emotion of the employees was distressing to see and, whilst salvaging anything possible, disposing of furniture and mopping out rooms, I couldn’t help but wonder what more I could possibly do to help.
“It was an absolute honour to work closely with the emergency volunteer group, Serve On. These wonderful, inspirational people had given up their time with their families and their New Year celebrations to come all the way from Portsmouth and Salisbury to help and what I was doing seemed so small and insignificant,” she stressed.
“An initial thought was to gather some musicians together to provide some light relief and entertainment for the volunteers at the end of the day, but logistically this was difficult and I also knew that time could be better spent in those forthcoming days.
“It was then that I decided that a fundraising concert at a suitable time in the future would be a better option and the idea grew from there,” said Mrs Hainsworth.
“Immediately after the New Year I secured the venue and made contact with MP Nigel Adams, BBC Radio York presenters Adam Tomlinson and Anna Wallace who will be comperes for the event and Mayor of Tadcaster Don Bain Mackay, who, without hesitation, all kindly agreed to support and attend the event.”
She added: “The students are highly motivated to help their local community and are all looking forward very much to performing.”
The Big Band will perform a selection of lively and uplifting pieces of music including Glenn Miller, and more recent popular hits such as Cry Me A River.
A song, specially written for the occasion, will have its debut at the concert and be dedicated to the town of Tadcaster.
“I have recently composed some lyrics and arranged a piece of music entitled Tadcaster In Union,” said Mrs Hainsworth.
“And there will be a few other entertaining surprises on the day too.” she added.
The Fundraising Concert for the Tadcaster Flood Victims will take place at the Riley-Smith Hall on Sunday March 20 at 2.30pm. Tickets, £5 in the stalls and £7.50 in the balcony are selling quickly and are available from the school on 01937 833466, the Riley-Smith Hall (01937 832289), The Ark (01937 834113), Calcaria Carpets (01937 530220), The Inkshop (01937 830121) or The Lemon Tree (07768 696584).