Watton-based Westend Waiters prove it’s never too late to find your voice

The West End Waiters. Picture: Courtesy Ken Davis

The West End Waiters. Picture: Courtesy Ken Davis - Credit: Archant

At the age of 84 most of us slow down - but one man and his fellow singers defy all the odds as they tour their old-time music hall show.

Ken Davis from Watton and his fellow retirees - all in their seventies - have been entertaining audiences from Hunstanton to Lowestoft for nearly seven years.

And in that time their group, The Westend Waiters, has raised nearly £20,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

They first came across each other when they were on the committee of The Wayland Festival and performing old-time music hall which proved hugely popular.

One of their members and fellow baritone John Garratt was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and it was then the singers and friends decided to take the show on the road to raise money for a charity close to their hearts.

John even toured and sang with them until he was unable. Sadly he died in 2014 but the Westend Waiters have continued singing ever since and this year alone have performed 18 concerts with 10 more to go.

Ken Davis, the group's founder, sang as a small boy in a church choir and has since sung with The Norfolk Opera Player, The Maddermarket and the East Norfolk Opera Group.

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He has played all the principal roles in Gilbert and Sullivan's operas including Pluto in Orpheus and the Underworld, Kecal in the Bartered Bride and Frank the prison governor in Diefledermaus and Timur in Turandot.

He said: 'It's a long career – your voice does change.

'You no longer have the volume and the control that you had when your body was younger. The group is unique – a bunch of old men singing comic songs and audiences love it. We make them laugh – we are all characters.'

The singers are Derek Smith, John Shead, Roy Challand, Peter Cowling and Graham Gabbattiss. Presenters are Leslie Cowling and Brenda Davis and the musical director is June Garratt.

Mrs Garratt said it was her job to whip them all into shape.

Upcoming shows will take place at Easton Village Hall, November 9 at 2pm; Sprowston Senior Citizens Club, November 23 at 2pm; St Benedict's Church in Lowestoft, December 1, 3pm.

For more about the group, call 01953881792 or email brendadavis30@icloud.com