Voices for Hospices Choir

To support through music, and particularly singing, the wonderful work done by Hospices to provide help to those with life limiting illnesses, end of life and bereavement services.

Next concert

"The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace" by Sir Karl Jenkins

Saturday 2nd September 2023

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane,
Romsey, SO51 0QA

 Voices for Hospices Choir are delighted to announce that after their wonderful concert held at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on 2nd September 2023, they raised an amazing £26000 for Hampshire’s Hospices.

On a lovely sunny and warm day, around 700 singers met in the Gardens for the only rehearsal, for the evening performance of “The Armed Man- A Mass for Peace” by Sir Karl Jenkins.

Singers were joined by friends and family for a lively picnic at the top of the performance arena before the concert start at 7.00pm.

All were invited to visit our Hospice Village, where all eight of our Hospices had a presence.The CEO of both Mountbatten Hospices, Nigel Hartley, spoke movingly of the need for Hospice care and the necessary preparedness of friends and family, which together with our VfH Choir Chaplain, the Rev Marion Dodd, and a message read out from Sir Karl, combined together to start a moving and exciting concert. 

John Sutton conducted  the VfH Sinfonia, a small group of virtuoso instrumentalists, who accompanied sensitively and with great excitement for the various movements in the work. Together with our four soloists, they all achieved a standard not normally associated with a “Come and Sing” performance. 

As daylight turned to dusk and then to dark, the singers switched on their mobile phones and torches, which together with the purple up lit trees and bushes made the whole experience magical for all present. 

“Spine tingling” “Gave me goosebumps” “So moving” “An amazing sing” are just a few comments from the hundreds of emails received by VfH Choir.

Thank you all for your presence and contributions to this amazing cause.The official hand-over of the money raised will be at mid-day on the 1st December at the Mountbatten Hants charity chalet at Winchester Christmas Market. Do come and see it, and visit the market as well!


VfH Choir.


Where To Stay.

There are plenty of hotels and AirBnB in Romsey and Winchester. We  sadly have to announce that all the rooms at the special Potters Heron VfHChoir price have been sold.  There are other more expensive rooms available at The Potters Heron, Ampfield, Romsey SO51 9ZF. (do mention VfHchoir to hopefully take advantage of our offer code!)

02380 277800. Please quote VfHChoir and PHGRP97. 


But Romsey Town has plenty of other hotels, BnB's and AirBnB's but a 10 minute drive away from Hillier's. 



About the Gardens

The magnificent 180-acre Sir Harold Hillier Gardens is world famous for its arboretum and gardens. Open all year round, the Gardens offer beauty and inspiration throughout the seasons. Outstanding attractions include: the iconic 250m long double summer border, Pond, Bog Garden and one of the largest Winter Gardens in Europe. Established by the distiguished plantsman Sir Harold Hiller in 1953, it is home to 14 National Collections, over 600 Champion Trees and 42,000 plants from temperate regions. It is one the most important modern plant collections in the world. The Gardens were left under the sole trusteeship of Hampshire County Council in 1977. Run as a charity, the Gardens are continually developed to further Sir Harold's Philosohy of horticulture, conservation, education and recreation. There is something different to see in the Gardens every day. Whether it is the changing season or a new exhibition, trail or workshop, there are always things to do for the whole family. Sadly singers won't have the time to visit the gardens for a tour on concert day, unless they arrive in the morning and pay for a day ticket, or return the following morning! But the views from the performing  area are stunning! A beautiful background for our picnics.

Book tickets via TicketSource

The Voices for Hospices Choir is a not for profit company, (No:09339136) set up in 2014, to continue the work of the Voices for Hospices movement, started at the Princess Alice Hospice, Esther, Surrey, in 1986, and is eligible for Gift Aid.  (EW35408). The original aims of which were to raise awareness and funds for Hospices primarily through singing.

John Sutton (the conductor of this concert) and his wife Jenny have been taking part and organising massed Come and Sing concerts since 1986. In fact, they  performed in the very first concert! (Jenny singing and John on his double bass) Our performances to date have raised many thousands of pounds for our chosen Hospices. Our last two have been solely for Hampshire Hospices. The concert in 2019, in Winchester Cathedral,( where we were their nominated Charity Concert of 2019)raised over £25,000.

John was awarded an MBE in the NY Honours 2023, for his work as Director of Amateur Choirs and Charitable Fundraising for the past 50+years. He was amazed and delighted to have received this honour. John says”Although my name is attached to the honour, it is in recognition of the many who have had the pleasure and privilege of singing, playing and supporting the numerous, wonderful concerts in UK and abroad, and in performances for many and various charities during the past  50 years. My heartfelt thanks go to friends past and present who have made it all possible. 

This year's concert we are supporting eight Hampshire Hospices:-

Countess of Brecknock, Andover; Mountbatten Hampshire, West End;Mountbatten, Isle of Wight; Naomi House and Jacksplace, Sutton Scotney; Oakhaven Lymington; Rowans, Porstmouth; St Michael's, Basingstoke; Winchester Hospice. They, as all UK Hospices, rely totally on donations to supply the services so necessary to patients as they face life limiting and end of life issues. These services can be supplied at the Hospices, as day care, or in a patient's own home. In these challenging times, raising these funds (often in excess of £8m each) is proving exceedingly difficult.

Tickets for singers and audience alike are £25 each. (It is the aim of VfH Choir that all ticket money and donations on the day go directly to our eight Hampshire Hospices.)

All the other necessary costs (orchestra, soloists, venue hire, flyers , posters, sound, lighting, admin etc) are raised by many voluntary VfHChoir activities during the year. These include, Donations, Auctions, Raffles, Bridge Afternoons, Folk Dancing, Coffee Mornings, A Colour and Style Day, Recitals and Concerts.

Everything is organised by a very active team (our yellow sashed VfHers!) who freely give of their time, both before concert day, and especially on and during the concert. Our concerts are held in unusual settings where numbers of singers are often greater than those in the audience!

Our venues have included such places as Kempton Park Racecourse, Eastleigh Football Club, Romsey Abbey and Winchester Cathedral, and now the beautiful Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, with around 1000 singers and audience.

They are hugely enjoyed by audiences and our Hospices. Some of our singers have been singing with us for nearly 50 years!

We at VfH Choir wish to give something back for the joy and satisfaction that a good sing can give us! What better place to send our money to, than our Hospices! We look forward to our performance with you and thank you for your generous support

We show our flyer/poster for the  next VfHChoir Concert on 2nd September 2023. (link to two sided flyer, to print off or send to their singing contacts)
The emblem of the hospice movement worldwide is the sunflower, and it is fitting that we use this flower, in the mouth of the dove, on our advertising literature, for it is also the National Flower of Ukraine. Our chosen work for the concert is "The Armed Man-A Mass for Peace" which itself is dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo conflict. These symbols of hope, strength, happiness and peace, combined so magically in the masterpiece by Sir Karl Jenkins will inform the centre of our performance.

The team

John Sutton

John Sutton

Musical Director

John is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and an accomplished bass player, singer and conductor. He was the youngest ever bass player in the National Youth Orchestra and a founder member of the group that went on to become Mott the Hoople. Since leaving the RCM, John's eclectic love of music has seen him performing with musicians as diverse as Pierre Boulez and the Walker Brothers and organising and conducting musical events throughout Europe. Engaged with Voices for Hospices since its inception John is dedicated to the ideal of voices joining together to support the Hospice movement - and to the idea that doing so should be fun!

The King’s award of an MBE in the NY Honours list 2023 is of great pride for him, although he fully recognises that without the support of so many singers and supporters over the years, this would not have been possible.

Jenny Sutton

Jenny Sutton

Charity and Events Coordinator

A professional singer since the age of eight, Jenny had already won prizes for her performances at Festivals such as Llangollen and Blackpool, and with Sir Charles Groves and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, before entering the Royal College of Music. Post graduation Jenny performed with artists such as Elton John and Peter Skellern, made regular appearances with the BBC Singers and had many solo engagements throughout Europe. Working closely with her husband she has played a significant part in raising large sums of money, and awareness, for Hospices since the early days of the VfH movement back in 1989. Jenny is committed to the ideal that musicians, and singers in particular, should give something back to the community that supports them. She is passionate that VfH Choir gives something back for the joy that singing together gives us. We are delighted yet again to have this opportunity to support our Hospices. We look forward to the concert with great anticipation! 

Rae Tugwell

Rae Tugwell

Finance Director

Rae is the treasurer for the VfH Choir concerts, in this country and abroad. His experience in the Army, in the Royal Army Pay Corps has prepared him for this role! He has assisted in the the administration and auditing of many previous concerts, and societies, including those that have benefitted Hospices.

Lynda Beament

Lynda Beament

Business Manager

Whilst she was brought up in a musical family Lynda decided to pursue a business career in marketing. Having gained a grounding within blue chip companies she set up and ran her own Marketing and Design agency working with clients such as Lloyds TSB, RAC and British Gas. The sale of her business after more than fifteen years successful trading gave her the freedom to engage in her passion for singing and she is currently an enthusiastic member of several choirs. Used to dealing with people at all levels Lynda is also very experienced at applying a realistic and pragmatic approach to creative projects.

Rosie Tugwell

Rosie Tugwell

Team Manager

Rosie has been involved with charity fundraising for many years. Nationally with Oxfam and Cancer Research, then locally for Hospices, Romsey Young Carers, local schools, hospitals, Cathedrals and churches. Amongst her many ways of raising funds are choral singing, raffles and bridge days, all of which have proved to be fun and rewarding, whilst supporting worthy causes.


Helen Bailey

Helen Bailey


Helen was born in Middlesbrough and is a graduate of Royal Academy Opera and Trinity College of Music, initially graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a First in English Literature and Cultural History. Helen performs regularly as a soloist for the Compton and Shawford, Dover, Ember, Folkestone, and Sutton Valence choral societies, Thanet Festival Choir, The Seventy Singers, Maidstone Wind Symphony, and Wrotham Music Festival. On the operatic stage, Helen has performed principal roles for OperaUpClose, Kentish Opera, Ryedale Festival Opera, The Music Troupe, Pop-Up Opera, Bath Festival Opera, Blackheath Halls Opera, and Buxton International Festival. 

Fiona MacKay

Fiona MacKay


Fiona studied music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and is a graduate of Royal Academy Opera, where she was kindly supported by The Sickle Foundation. Fiona really enjoyed playing Pitti-Sing in the Mikado and Edith in the Pirates of Penzance on the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company UK Tour. For the company she also played Phoebe in The Yeomen of the Guard Lady Sangazure in The Sorcerer. Fiona has been a principal at Opera Holland Park. Other recent highlights include roles in a concert performance of ‘Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortiléges with Stephane Denéve and the BBC symphony orchestra, in Haydn's La Vera Costanza conducted by Trevor Pinnock and in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin conducted by Jane Glover. Operatic roles include Second and Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Popova in Walton’s The Bear, Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, Maurya in Riders to the Sea - conducted by Peter Robinson, Ursule in Béatrice et Bénédict - conducted by Sir Colin Davis, and Lady Bertram in the London premiére production of Dove’s Mansfield Park. A Night at the Opera. 

Gilly Slot

Gilly Slot


Gilly was born in Bedfordshire and started having piano lessons at the age of six. She continued her piano studies with Martin Hughes at Surrey University where she studied music. She currently teaches the piano at The Pilgrims’ School and St. Swithun’s School in Winchester, and West Hill Park School in Titchfield. Gilly is the accompanist for the Compton and Shawford Festival Choir and the Winchester Festival Choir, and accompanies for local concerts, festivals and examinations. She plays the flute in the chamber group Fusion, and also plays the classical guitar and the viola. 

Mark Gubbins

Mark Gubbins

Tenor (Call to Prayer)

Originally from the Isle of Wight, Mark Gubbins has sung with a number of choirs in the West London area since moving there in the 1980s. He has an eclectic taste in music, and as well as enjoying singing classical music as a tenor, he has also played guitar and keyboards in a variety of amateur rock bands over the years. Until recently he worked for British Airways, giving him a great opportunity to travel and to experience many different cultures.

“It is a real privilege to sing The Call to Prayer, the sound of which is such a pervasive presence when visiting many cities around the world. With its haunting inflections, you cannot fail to feel its power to summon and unify people – very fitting, therefore, with the call for peace that is the central theme of the Armed Man”


Andrew De Silva

Andrew De Silva


Sri Lankan born baritone, Andrew De Silva, began his singing career as a boy chorister in the choir of Peterborough Cathedral, and until recently, reveled in his love of Cathedral music as a Lay Clerk in the choir of Winchester Cathedral.  In the intervening years Andrew has been a choral scholar while at Canterbury Christ Church University reading Education, a Lay Clerk at Peterborough Cathedral while teaching in primary schools in the city, and is currently Headmaster of The Oratory Prep School in Oxfordshire.


Andrew has appeared in many concerts, broadcasts, CD recordings and European tours with both Peterborough and Winchester Cathedral Choirs.  As a soloist, Andrew has appeared with many choral societies in Hampshire and Surrey, as well as further afield, including in the St Davids Cathedral Festival.  He has enjoyed singing with many renowned orchestras and ensembles, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, British Sinfonietta, Charivari Agreable, and the English Chamber Orchestra.  Recent engagements include Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Rossini’s Petite Messe Sollenelle, Beethoven’s Mass in C minor, both the St John and the St Matthew Passions by Bach, Verdi’s Requiem, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.  Future engagements for this year include Brahms’ Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs.

The Linda Bridges

The Linda Bridges


Linda started playing the piano at age 7, and quickly progressed to the stage where she could accompany her parents, both singers, in local concerts. By the age of 15 she was the accompanist for two choirs in the Huddersfield area, learning many of the pieces in the choral repertoire. 


After studying music at Nottingham University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Linda took time out to raise her family, resuming her musical activities in her role as Music Director of her local church. She enjoys accompanying for ABRSM and Trinity exams as well as supporting young people in their GCSE and A level music recitals in local schools. 


Linda has been lucky to travel on music tours with various choirs, performing in France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Spain and Canada. 

Contact us

For all enquiries, please email us at info@vfhchoir.com