Meet George Durant
30 August 2014
With his previous experience of singing with Pye Hill Male Voice Choir, George joined Bestwood Male Voice Choir around 1977. For many years he also sang with Nottinghamshire Police Male Voice Choir at the same time. George will be 90 in November this year and is proud to have been involved in the D-Day landings on Gold and Juno beaches. He is the oldest singing member of Bestwood Male Voice Choir and we are proud to have him in our ranks.
George started working at Netherseal Colliery in Derbyshire and was aged just 17 when he joined up with the Royal Marines in 1941. He was first stationed at Deal, Kent, for training, then was transferred to Plymouth, Scotland, and North Wales. He travelled around the coast on landing craft to Clacton, Lowestoft, Whitley Bay, and Scotland, then around the west coast. While in Scotland George trained at Naval Air Stationing (RNAS), learning how to fire anti-aircraft guns (including Beaufort) at fleet air arm stations. He also manned the machine gun on the landing craft.
His first assignment abroad was at the D-Day landings in 1944. His boat was damaged and the coxswain killed, but they managed to steer the boat to the beach and called back many times to ferry more troops in and take prisoners back. He was there for five weeks and, after a short leave, was assigned to the Far East, travelling to Bombay. He stayed at a Naval Camp and then went to Ceylon, Calcutta, Burma and Indonesia, though did not encounter any fighting. The British Forces landed on the Malayan coast and then went to Bangkok where the Japanese surrendered. George managed to acquire a Japanese sword which unfortunately was stolen afterwards! While in Singapore George was involved in a big parade at which Lord Louis Mountbatten took the official surrender by the Japanese. George returned home around 1946 when he was de-mobbed.
George returned to work at various collieries, finally settling at Annesley. He was married in the early 1950s and has a son and daughter and two grandchildren.
We wish George all the best for his forthcoming 90th birthday and hope he will be singing with the Choir for many years to come!
17 August 2014
Bestwood MVC will be joined by Marazion Apollo from Cornwall on 6th September. Tickets are available online or directly from Peter on 01773 715 819.
On-line Tickets: From Stage And Screen
10 August 2014
A block of tickets are exclusively available for sale on-line for our 'From stage and screen' concert.
Music And Miners
30 July 2014
On Sunday 27 July the Winding Engine House of Bestwood Colliery rang out to the sounds of its colliery band playing and its male voice choir singing.
As part of the heritage officer's "Miners and Music" event Bestwood Male Voice Choir sang a selection of their repertoire and the Black Diamonds Brass Band played a medley of tunes.
Hearing these concerts in the location where both groups were formed was magical. To make the day even more special there was an impromptu fly-by of a Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. This along with a steady stream of drinks and cakes served at the Dynamo House café and seemingly endless amounts of sunshine, made for a magnificent day in the park for over 150 visitors.
Meet The Choir - Bryce Clare
Concert Review: 15 March 2014
18 April 2014
On 15 March we paid tribute to one of our own - Howard Leese, OBE - a true gentleman and former President of the Choir, who sadly passed away in 2013.
The tribute concert at St Michael and All Angels, Underwood, Howard’s local church, took place in front of a capacity audience and raised over £800 for the St James the Great Church, Brinsley Re-ordering (refurbishment) Fund.
Concert Review: 8 March 2014
31 March 2014
On 8 March, Central Methodist Church, Hucknall hosted the annual tribute to the Choir’s founder, Len Hogg.
An appreciative capacity audience, including Len Hogg’s daughter, Sheila and family, were entertained by a varied choir programme, which included soloists Colin Pursglove and Adrian Griffiths, plus Michael Anthony at the organ.
The concert raised approximately £600 for church and choir funds, the church donating their portion to Bangor University Christian Union.
Thinking Of Joining A Choir?
30 March 2014
This is the smart new flyer advertising the choir as a new hobby, a place to sing and a chance to meet new friends. If you've ever thought of joining a choir don't delay, get in touch on 0115 9794842 or use our contact form here.
Read All About Us
26 January 2014
A booklet about the choir has been written by the daughter of one of the Choir’s founder members, Frank Wright, who as the last surviving founder member, sadly passed away in 2012. Although Helen Smith’s booklet is about the Choir’s history, it is chiefly a tribute to her late father.
Proceeds from the sale of the booklet are being shared between the Choir and Notts-Lincs Air Ambulance. For more details see article in Hucknall Dispatch.
The book is on sale for £5 and can be purchased by contacting Helen on 0115 9532012.
Double Cheque Presentations
17 January 2014
Towards the end of another busy year, Colin Pursglove, Chairman of Bestwood MVC was delighted to hand over two cheques of £450 each to Macmillan Cancer Support Group and Treetops Hospice at a concert at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Beeston last November.
Pictured in the photograph along with Colin from left to right are Janet Sanders, Charity Co-ordinator of Nightingale Macmillan Unit, John Griffiths, Patron of Treetops Hospice and Carol Rigley, Linda Gourley and Carol Harrison from the Imari Ladies Chorus. The funds had been raised at a joint concert with the Imari Ladies Chorus in September 2013 at The Chatsworth Theatre, Long Eaton.
Closing The Christmas Season
26 December 2013
St Mark's - The choir finished their Christmas season by supporting their local church, St Mark's, in Bestwood Village on Sunday 22nd December. They joined in the Congregational singing and supplied two Christmas songs for the Church's annual Christmas Service.
Christmas Party - The Choir were treated to a night of fun, songs, food, raffles and good company when they celebrated a successful year of singing by taking the night off from rehearsing and having a party instead. This year for the first time entertainment was provided by The Knights who top and tailed the evening's entertainment with their "Nostalgia and Nonsense" show.
Christmas Highlights - The choir again had the pleasure of supporting Age Concern with their fund raising Christmas concert at Southwell Minster. Gedling's Mayor organised a joint concert with the Newstead Brass Band at St Paul’s Church in Daybrook to raise funds to support his homeless charity work. Kingswood Methodist Church in Wollaton also benefited from the choir's Christmas repertoire which this year again included many new songs.
Heanor - In late November the choir performed their last non-Christmas concert of the year at the Heanor Methodist Church.
Warming up for Christmas
6 November 2013
On 31st October the choir joined Newstead Brass Band, Carlton Male Voice Choir and the United Schools Choir to perform to a large audience at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall to raise substantial funds for the Nottingham Hospitals’ Charity Lewis Mighty Fund helping children with cancer. A varied programme concluded with a typical ‘Last night of the Proms’ singing of Land of Hope and Glory, and Jerusalem.
We are now busy rehearsing for our pre-Christmas programme of events which includes concerts and services at Southwell Minster , St Paul’s Church, Daybrook, Kingswood Methodist Church, Wollaton and St Marks Church in Bestwood Village
Bampton - A Country Wedding
11 September 2013
On 6 September Bestwood MVC ventured over the Nottinghamshire border - to Oxfordshire! The Choir had been invited to sing at the wedding of the grandson of a former choir member, Jack Wright.
The wedding took place in a typical English country church. In fact, we can claim to have sung on the film set of Downton Abbey, since some of the series was filmed in this church.
In keeping with country traditions, the bride arrived on a farm wagon pulled by a steam traction engine. The wedding service included three songs from the choir, which were very warmly received by the congregation. The newly-weds then left by wagon, again pulled by the steam traction engine, but not before we were served up a cloud of steam and a couple of ear-splitting bursts on the whistle. Then it was our turn to set off to the reception for a glass of bubbly in the garden.
After some refreshments at the local hostelry (both solid and liquid), we boarded our thankfully more modern form of transport and were chauffeured home again. Quite a long and tiring day, but a good one!
If you would like Bestwood MVC to sing at your wedding, or know someone who is considering booking a choir, please contact us at email@example.com
Annual Gala Concert News
Thoresby Colliery Band
16 August 2013
Rehearsals are well underway for Bestwood MVC’s annual Gala Concert at the Albert Hall, Nottingham on Sunday 29 September 2013, at the new time of 3.00pm.
The choir is joined on this occasion by the well known Thoresby Colliery Brass Band, based in the heart of Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. The band is extremely proud of its local heritage and links with both the County and the local community.
The Band formed in 1948, the result of a conversation held between two men, Mr Kitchener and his friend Mr Miller, on a bus between Mansfield and Edwinstowe, the idea being to form a brass band in the north Nottinghamshire village of Edwinstowe. As the band's name suggests, many of the musicians were once employed in the coal industry.
The audience is promised a rich mixture of voice and brass instruments, with the grand finale being a combination of choir, band and audience!
Proceeds from the Gala Concert will go towards Bestwood MVC’s funds to enable the choir to continue supporting local and national charities long into the future, as it has in the past.
Tickets are £10.00 and available by telephoning (0115) 928 5055.
New President Elected
President - John Pritchard
13 August 2013
As a result of the sad passing earlier in the year of our dear and much-respected President, Howard Leese, OBE, the Choir recently held elections to appoint a new President.
Being blessed with two nominees, votes were cast at a special meeting, the result of which is that we have a new President in the form of John Pritchard, our accomplished and popular concert compere.
John thanked the gentlemen of the Choir by saying a few words :
"Gentlemen, it's a great honour to be elected President of Bestwood MVC.and I'm humbled to say the least.
We are all individuals and I would in no way profess to be a Len Hogg or a Howard Leese both past Presidents of the choir and significant role models. You more often than not see the humorous side of me but I do have a serious side and I will do my best to represent Bestwood MVC. at all time and lend to the position the gravitas it warrants. However, I can't promise that there won't be humour lingering close to the surface"
The Choir would like to congratulate John on his new appointment and wish him continued success in the Choir.
Summer Charity Concert
19 July 2013
After an extremely busy and successful Diamond Jubilee Year in 2012, followed by 7 concerts in the first half of 2013, Bestwood MVC is now entering a period of more concentrated rehearsing before its next concert on the 7 September 2013. This is a Charity Concert, organised by choir member Claude Dilks, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and Treetops Hospice. The concert takes place at The Duchess Theatre, Chatsworth Arts Centre in Long Eaton at 7.30pm.
Bestwood MVC will be joined on this occasion by the Imari Ladies Chorus, who sing 'A Capella' or without musical accompaniment. The chorus began its life in 1995 and was origianlly a barbershop chorus. In recent years however, under their Musical Director Linda Gourlay, the chorus has changed direction and now sings a wider range of songs in harmony style.
Tickets are £5.00 and available from Claude Dilks on (01159) 726747 or Peter Fletcher on (01773) 715819.
All Together Now
9 July 2013
It has been reported by scientists investigating the effects of music on our well-being that the calming effects of collective singing are as beneficial to a person’s health as yoga. Yet another reason to join a choir.
Read more in an article on the BBC web site here or in the Daily Mail here
Media - Dispatch Article
16 June 2013
Read the article from this week's Hucknall Dispatch about one of the choirs recent fund raising concert.
Len Hogg Tribute Photos
5 May 2013
When not conducting, the Choir's Musical Director, Mirek Rus can also be found behind a camera. A selection of his photos from the recent Len Hogg Tribute Concert are now available to view on the Photos 2013 page.
Dave's Going Down Under
4 May 2013
Dave Moore, bass singer has just retired and will take a year out from the choir to travel with his wife Chris all around Australia and New Zealand in a camper van.
You can follow their adventures and exploits on their blog. Their trip of a lifetime starts on 18th May 2013. By clicking 'follow' on the blog you can choose to receive the stories by email without having to log onto the blog each time.
BMVC Mugs Now Available
13 April 2013
Be the proud owner of one of our new Bestwood Male Voice Choir mugs.
The mugs will be available to purchase at our concerts for only £3.50 each.
Double Celebration Concert
4 April 2013
Bestwood Male Voice Choir is performing at the Hucknall Central Methodist Church, on Baker Street, Hucknall, Nottingham on Saturday 27 April at 7.30pm.
The concert is to celebrate 50 years at Central, as well as incorporating the Len Hogg Tribute Concert, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions back in January this year. Len Hogg, as many will know, was the founder of Bestwood MVC back in 1952.
Tickets are £5.00 (children under 12 free) and are available from
Graham Daft (0115 953 9545)
John Pritchard (01623 612872)
Keith Dennis (0115 968 1297)
Bert Hallam (01773 788693)
28 March 2013
Howard Leese OBE
27 February 2013
It is with the deepest regret that we announce the death of our dear and much loved President, Howard Leese OBE.
Howard passed away peacefully on Sunday 17 February, in King's Mill Hospital, surrounded by his wife Marjorie and other family members.
Music was a significant part of Howard’s life, having been encouraged by his mother, a soprano soloist, to enter competitive music festivals with his treble voice, before joining church and chapel choirs.
He served an engineering apprenticeship at Jos. Sankey & Sons (now GKN Sankey), joining their male voice choir at 18 years of age. At 21 years, Howard left his Shropshire home, joining the Civil Service on outstation duties at Morris Oxford, staying there for some 3 years. He spent happy times there in their male voice choir, becoming Assistant Conductor. Many years followed working from offices in London, living in Middlesex and Surrey, singing mostly in church choirs. During August 1971, Howard was posted to Royal Ordnance Factory, Nottingham and soon afterwards, joined Bestwood MVC. He conducted the choir on many occasions, including tours abroad, making many friends over the years.
In the choir’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert Souvenir Programme, Howard was quoted as saying “Bestwood MVC has a reputation for outstanding fellowship amongst its members, no doubt fostered by its mining roots. As a miner’s son myself I am very proud to be President of this magnificent choir, having reached our Diamond Anniversary year.”
Howard was a true gentleman, in every sense of the word and will be very sadly missed by his family, choir members and all those who were fortunate enough to know him.
Christmas Season Reflection
16 February 2013
Bestwood Male Voice Choir's Diamond Jubilee year drew to a close with a very successful run of high profile concerts. On 5 December, the choir were invited to the magnificent Southwell Minster to take part in the Age Concern and Age UK Support Group's 'A Christmas Celebration'.
The following evening saw the choir singing to a capacity audience at St Leonard's Church, Wollaton for the Rotary Club of Wollaton Park's Christmas Music Concert. On 12 December the choir returned to Southwell Minster, where it had been invited to take part in the Emergency Services Carol Service, along with the Nottinghamshire Police Band.
St John's Church, Mansfield was the setting for the next concert on 13 December, the BBC Radio Nottingham's Christmas Carol Service, led by Sunday Breakfast Show Presenter, Sarah Julian. The service was broadcast on BBC Radio Nottingham on Christmas Eve at 6pm and Christmas Day at 12 noon.
The choir's final contribution of the year was at St Mark's Church, Bestwood Village on Sunday 16 December, joining in the service of Lessons and Carols and singing two carols alone. A very fitting end to a very exciting and rewarding Diamond Anniversary Year.
Joining the Choir
If you think you may like to join the choir, come along and listen to a rehearsal on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm.
We meet at
Bestwood Village Social Club,
Booking the Choir
We are available to perform at all kinds of events. We can provide a varied programme of songs from our 2013 repertoire to entertain at weddings, corporate events and fundraising concerts.
If you would like the choir to sing at your event, please contact our Concert Secretary, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Contact Us page.
National Association of Choirs
Rotenburg an der Fulda
Gedling Borough Council
Bestwood Village WI
His Grace the Duke of St Albans
Registered Charity No. 702126