Mile Cross singers get prestigious award from the Queen

Some of the city's singers were celebrating yesterday as their group was given an award by Her Majesty for their harmonising.

Sing Your Heart Out work with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to improve mental wellbeing in the area.

The singing workshops take place every Wednesday from 2pm at The Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road in Norwich helping mental health service users to gain confidence and socialise with other people.

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary organisations and is one of the more prestigious awards given to volunteer groups for their work in the community.

And the nominations are approved by the Queen herself..

Sing Your Heart Out (SYO) was founded by Tracy Morefield, 55, a psychotherapist and worked at Hellesdon Hospital up until her retirement last year.

She started the group in 2004 and said she is thrilled to see how much the group has grown.

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'It's completely user run now which is really wonderful.'

Mental health nurse Sue Dudley, 54, has been involved in the group since 2005, bringing people on Wednesdays to instill structure and enjoyment into their lives.

She said: 'It's a real confidence booster coming here for many people, as well as a safe space to be, and many of the members wouldn't have come by themselves

An early user of the group was Penny Holden, 62, from Sparham, who is now Chair of the SYO committee.

She said: 'It's so wonderful to be recognised by the award and more funding would be even better.'

Singer Pamella Main, 53, from Norwich added: 'The singing helps with breathing and really eases panic attacks.'

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