Julie Thomas and Sara Foreman of our Bury St Edmunds office have swapped insurance claims for a charity choir this month and released a single along with 250 other local singers as part of their choir – Pop Chorus.

Pop Chorus is made up of singers from across Suffolk who have banded together for a very special cause, St Elizabeth Hospice which provides specialist, end-of-life care to 2000 people every year, from across East Suffolk and South Norfolk.

The Pop Chorus Choir outside Diss Corn Hall

Raising money for the hospice is really important as 80% of the money St Elizabeth hospice spends on providing much needed care comes from donations. Pop Chorus are delighted to be supporting this cause as the choir have a long standing relationship with the hospice having gone in to visit and entertain the patients on lots of occasions.

‘Always’ (the single they have released) is particularly special to Sara, Julie and the Pop Chorus choir as the lyrics were generated by patients and their families at the hospice and is all about what St Elizabeth means to them. The team worked on the single with top pop producer Ian Curnow, who’s worked with some big names in the past including Kylie Minogue.

Pop Chorus is made up of several smaller choirs from around the Suffolk area with each choir practising the song separately. They then came together as a group of 250 to record the song at a local recording studio.

NOTE: we know colleagues can’t view YouTube in stores – this video is available to view from your own device.

The single was launched at the Christmas lights switch on in Ipswich, where patients and their families from St Elizabeth hospice heard how their words had come together in the song for the first time. Julie Thomas said:

‘It was very moving to see the reaction from the families, we could see some of them were quite emotional but it was also great to entertain the crowds on the day!’

The single was released on digital download in November and is already proving very popular – it went straight into the UK single chart at 65, and last week it reached number 2 on the Amazon pop download chart. Pop Chorus have even been asked to sing ‘Always’ at half time on the football pitch for Ipswich Town FC for their 30th December game against Derby County.

Local Co-op Food stores in the area have also pitched in to help. Julie told us that the CDs are selling really well in the stores and how great it is to have Co-op Food colleagues contributing to the success of the single. A real #BeingCoop effort with different areas of our group pulling together to raise money for this great cause!

Sara and Julie are very excited at the prospect of becoming chart-topping pop stars but most importantly want to raise much needed funds and awareness about the vital work St Elizabeth Hospice, and other hospice’s around the country do every day.

Julie explains why fundraising is so important to the hospice:

‘They need so much money to continue the great work that they do, and only receive a tiny amount from subsidies. It’s amazing to be able to do so much good out of something we enjoy so much. St Elizabeth means a lot to me and is very close to my heart, having lost several close family members to cancer, I know how much care they need and what a difference place like this makes.’

Sara is really enjoying been part of something so meaningful:

‘This is really, really exciting, I’ve never done anything like this before, seeing the impact it’s having in the hospice is amazing, and it makes it even better that the families and patients were involved. You can see how touched they are when they hear their lyrics in the song.’

You can hear the moving lyrics and wonderful voices of the Pop Chorus choir as well as supporting this great cause by purchasing or streaming the single on your computer or mobile device.

Ed Sheeran and Wham! are currently among the bookies favourites for Christmas number 1. Can Co-op colleagues help Pop Chorus give them a race to the top spot while raising funds and awareness for a great cause?