Wales’ oldest chorister Sally, 93, is still hitting the high notes

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93 year old Sally Davies from Trefriw in the Conwy Valley is the oldest member of The Rwsters Choir.

 

Wales’s oldest chorister Sally Davies is still hitting the high notes at the grand age of 93.

93 year old Sally Davies from Trefriw in the Conwy Valley is the oldest member of The Rwsters Choir.

The great grandmother of 13 joined the Rwsters Choir in Llanrwst as a way of beating loneliness and isolation.

According to Mrs Davies, signing up to sing with them was the best thing she’s ever done and as a result she’s appeared on stage for the first time in her life.

The choir was set up by Cartrefi Conwy housing association and takes its name from the town of Llanrwst where most the members are their tenants.

The aim was to get people out of their homes by giving them a stimulating new interest.

The Rwsters made their debut at Cartrefi Conwy’s older person’s day at Venue Cymru in Llandudno last Autumn.

Sally said: “I never went out really. I had a fall in my old house in Trefriw where I’d lived for 46 years and moved across the road to a bungalow. I’m a tenant of Cartrefi Conwy and they were really good and helped me a lot.

“I used to walk from Trefriw to Llanwrst and back for my shopping but I can’t do it anymore. I never went out much and was getting a bit lonely. Then Alison Hughes, who works for Cartrefi Conwy and visited and asked me to join the choir.

“I’ve never sang before and never been on a stage. No one ever asked me to. But after I went along I really enjoy it. It’s pulled me out of the house and got me meeting people. Everyone is so nice, people help you put your coat on and are ready for a chat.

“It means I mix with people I never used to see. I only really saw my own family and Alison Hughes when she called to see me. Now I mix with new friends.

“I love it that the choir sings old Welsh songs, songs I remember from when I was growing up and that I haven’t heard for many years.”

After joining the choir Sally now also goes to Hafan Gwydir, a care facility run by Clwyd Alynhousing association, three times a week for lunch where she meets other members of the Rwsters.

She said: “I’m independent and live at home but sometimes it does get lonely. But now I’ve new friends and get out thanks to the Rwsters. I was so proud of singing last year on stage at Venue Cymru Llandudno, at the Cartrefi Conwy Older Person’s Day.

“I’ve never been on a stage before! Not that anyone has asked me to. Imagine being on stage when your 93!”

According to Cartrefi Conwy’s Older Person Engagement Co-ordinator, Nerys Veldhuizen, the Rwsters Choir is helping bringing the community together.

She said: “It has meant we, as a registered social landlord, are working in partnership with Clwyd Alyn Housing Association to widen friendship between our tenants.

“The Rwsters was initially a six month project but because of its undoubted success it will now continue indefinitely and will continue to be run by tenants for tenants.

“The important thing is participation and friendship. It doesn’t matter how well you sing or how old you are. It’s all about having fun.”

Cartrefi Conwy Independent Living Coordinator, Alison Hughes, said: “Sally needed a little support after she had a fall and moved across the road to the bungalow she now lives in as a Cartrefi Conwy tenant.

“She was always very active and would walk long distances. However, due to her mobility problems she was becoming isolated. I persuaded her to come to the Rwsters and join the choir and she hasn’t looked back.”

Cartrefi Conwy tenant Tilly Goodwin chairs the Altogether Group which includes the Rwsters.

She said: “Sally got involved with the Rwsters after Alison Hughes asked her to come and join. Sally was getting more isolated in her little bungalow.

“She now really enjoys practice every Tuesday and coming for lunch at Hafan Gwydir three times a week. It’s brought her out and got her mixing with people and making friends again.

“She told me she so enjoys being part of a group and singing with friends. It really has made such a big difference to her life.”

The Rwsters, including Sally, enjoyed top billing at a special St David’s Day celebration organised by the All Together Group at the Eagles Hotel in Llanwrst.

Following a afternoon tea, sandwiches and delicious cakes, more than 40 Cartrefi Conwy and Clwyd Alyn tenants along with local residents were treated to a performance of traditional Welsh songs and clog dancing courtesy of pupils from Ysgol Bro Gethin.

The youngsters, who used the occasion to rehearse for their upcoming Eisteddfod competitions, thrilled tenants before the Rwsters brought the celebration to a rousing conclusion.