Singing our Hearts Out

When I retired I was looking for something different to do. I had been teaching for 40 years. It was a time for something completely different. In 2011 I was in London just after the Royal Wedding and decided to visit the Abbey. I knew the flowers and trees, the decorations from the wedding, were still there.  I was completely bowled over by the building, the wonderful feeling of generations of worshippers and the history of England right there. I noticed some volunteers and knew I would love to do that. I applied and at that time they were looking for new people. After various interviews I was accepted.

I was thrilled and I feel exactly the same every time I go into the building now. I’m called an Abbey Guide and work welcoming visitors from all over the world. I also work with the Learning team and take groups of school children around the Abbey. Being a volunteer has led to some wonderful opportunities to attend major national services often attended by the Queen and Royal family.

There was a ballot for the 60th Anniversary of Songs of Praise. The recording was done in early September. The recording started at 6.30pm and finished at 10pm. All the music was done twice and one hymn three times. It was so good to be singing again, no masks and everyone singing their hearts out. The amazing sound of the organ going full throttle was spine-tingling. It was a long evening but the finished programme was worth it.

Songs of Praise is important, especially to people who cannot always get to church. The testimonies of Christian experience are uplifting. It is good to join in the singing of hymns old and new.  Let’s hope it continues for another 60 years.

Maggie Lawrence

You can watch the Songs of Praise 60th Anniversary Special on BBC iPlayer.