King’s Lynn’s longest-serving choirgirl Olwyn Barber to appear on BBC’s Songs of Praise

Olwyn Barber has been singing in the St Faith's Church choir in Gaywood, for 70 years. Picture: Ian

Olwyn Barber has been singing in the St Faith's Church choir in Gaywood, for 70 years. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

One of the UK's longest-serving choirgirls is to be featured on the BBC's Songs of Praise to mark her 70 years of hitting the high notes.

Olwyn Barber enjoying a cuppa with Songs of Praise presenter and Gogglebox star Revd Kate Bottley. P

Olwyn Barber enjoying a cuppa with Songs of Praise presenter and Gogglebox star Revd Kate Bottley. Picture: Colin James - Credit: Colin James

A special service was held at St Faith's Church, Gayton Road, Gaywood to commemorate Olwyn Barber.

Before the morning service on Sunday, April 30, 82-year-old Mrs Barber was interviewed by Songs of Praise presenter and Gogglebox star Revd Julie Bottley.

Asked what motivated her to join the choir in 1947 when she was just 12 - and what made her continue singing for seven decades - she said: 'I'd be lost if I didn't have any singing to do, and the church is the best place to share your gift.

'I did a lot of solo singing in my young days but my voice is not in tip-top condition now that I've matured!

Olwyn Barber when she first joined St Faith's Church choir in 1947. Picture: Olwyn Barber

Olwyn Barber when she first joined St Faith's Church choir in 1947. Picture: Olwyn Barber - Credit: Olwyn Barber


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'There are so many churches that do not have a choir at all, so I feel very lucky that we have one.'

MORE: Special church service for King's Lynn chorister still too shy to sing solo after 70 years

After being initially nervous about the interview and appearing on television for the first time in her life, Mrs Barber felt at ease with her friends and family around her.

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The film crew recorded the entire service and interviewed St Faith's rector, Revd Julian Boyd, churchwarden Richard Parr and other members of the congregation.

Olwyn Barber, pictured in 1997, received a special medallion for services to the St Faith's Church c

Olwyn Barber, pictured in 1997, received a special medallion for services to the St Faith's Church choir, at Gaywood, King's Lynn. Picture: John Hocknell - Credit: John Hocknell

A short segment of the service will appear on the show in the upcoming weeks.

Mrs Barber said she felt both nervous and excited to see herself on TV.

She was awarded a certificate by the Royal Church of School Music and a congratulatory letter from the Bishop of Lynn before celebrating her long service with the church choir, with a specially-made sponge cake made by fellow choir member Sue Benstead.

'It was so uplifting to have everybody there, I never expected it was going to snowball and have so many people interested.' Mrs Barber added.

Olwyn Barber has been singing in the St Faith's Church choir in Gaywood, for 70 years. Also pictured

Olwyn Barber has been singing in the St Faith's Church choir in Gaywood, for 70 years. Also pictured is Reverend Julie Boyd. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Mr Parr said: 'All of us at St Faith's feel richly blessed to have Olwyn as a member of our choir for all these years and we hope that she will continue to help lead the singing at services for as long as she wishes to.'

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