St Winifred's School Choir

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St. Winifred's School Choir
Origin Stockport, United Kingdom
Years active 1979 (1979)–1983 (1983)[1]

St Winifred's School Choir, from St Winifred's Roman Catholic Primary School in Stockport, United Kingdom, was a choir of children whose single in 1980 became that year's British Christmas number one single. Entitled "There's No One Quite Like Grandma", it spent two weeks at number one, and 11 weeks in the UK Singles Chart in total.[2] Dawn Ralph provided the lead vocal of the song composed by award-winning record producer Gordon Lorenz. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, Miss Terri Foley trained and conducted the choir, who gave the Music for Pleasure record label its only UK No. 1 single.

The choir had been recording since 1972,[3] when Foley played the guitar with the choir and the conductor was Miss Olive Moore. Their first major single came in November 1979.[1]

They had also been previously recorded as the backing vocalists of another eventual number one song, "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs" by Brian and Michael, which concerned the paintings of L.S. Lowry. In 1982, the choir released Christmas for Everyone; and Children's Party Time, which included 32 arrangements of songs including Abba's "Waterloo" and "Dancing Queen".

One of the children who appeared on television in the 1980 recording was Sally Lindsay, who has gone on to become an actress,[4] appearing in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street. Another, Jennifer Hennessy, is also a television actress[5] and has appeared in the BBC drama Doctor Who and the BBC comedy The Office. Two more, Christine Cheetham and Diana Dyer, featured in the Identity Parade line-up on an autumn 1998 edition of BBC panel game, Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

In November 2009, 14 of the original choir members reunited to record a new version of "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" in association with Innocent Drinks to raise money for the Age Concern charity.[6]

Dawn Ralph[edit]

Dawn Ralph is mostly known as the young female soloist who sang on "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" by St Winifred's School Choir.[7] The song was a Christmas number one in the UK charts in 1980.

Along came many other recordings - a Disney-themed album, a Christmas album, Hold My Hand and many TV appearances on Top of the Pops, Tiswas and Christmas-themed shows. She also made a number of live appearances at theatres.

Although Ralph enjoyed the success, she didn't always enjoy the attention and turned down many opportunies at the time - including an offer to play Annie in a West End production of the musical.

Now in her thirties, Ralph is happily married[8] with one daughter. She still refuses offers for interviews and TV shows and has no regrets about her decision to stay out of the limelight.

Her last TV appearance was on This Is Your Life in the 1990s. The show focused on Sister Aquinas - the former headmistress of St Winifred's School who was honoured for the work she did for the School along with her considerable charity work. For this reason only, Ralph was happy to step into the public eye for one short moment.

Ralph is immensely proud of St Winifred's and the 'interesting' childhood it gave her.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "St. Winifred's School Choir Discography - UK". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 479. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ "Invisiblegirl Archive". Invisiblegirl.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  4. ^ Sally Lindsay at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Jennifer Hennessy at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (22 November 2009). "St Winifred's choir reunites for charity version of 'There's No-one Quite Like Grandma'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  7. ^ "'And one day when we're older...'". The Observer. 2003-12-14. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  8. ^ "XMAS NUMBER ONES ..BUT WHERE ARE THEY NOW?". Daily Mirror. 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 

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