Today is day six of Volunteers’ Week 2024 and we continue to look at the different types of volunteering roles at Bradford Cathedral and those who volunteer here. Here we meet Anne Hilton, a choir chaperone, to find out more about her and her volunteering, which started when she saw a call for new chaperones in the weekly notice sheet.

“This appealed to me, as I love choral music, but I also knew some of the team, and I thought it would be a great way to encourage young leaders. To me it felt exciting that they were getting such a great opportunity at that young age.”

We asked Anne to tell us more about what the role entails.

“It’s mainly supporting Marta (Bradford Cathedral’s Choir Matron). On a weekly basis I turn up to make toast and juice, and serve it to the children. I’m a friendly face and a point of contact.

“I then wait during rehearsals, as a safe presence, and then go to Evensong with them. It’s a pastoral role, in that I’m looking out to see if they are okay; they might have a question, or maybe not feeling up to singing that day. It’s being around for them.”

Of course, facilitating the younger members of the choir as they continue on their musical journey is very important.

“It’s a great example of teamwork. A lot of children get a lot out of being in sports teams, but equally you get a lot out of music. I’ve seen my own children get a lot out of it.

“I think it’s incredible the sort of input and the quality of music they get at Bradford Cathedral. It’s really going to mark them out as they get older – that they’re getting these skills.

“I’ve always liked children – I’ve worked in schools before – and I want them to realise their potential, and support the leaders as well.

“I think sometimes we miss a trick, that it just happens in the Cathedral as it’s part of the scene, but actually it’s really important, and I think a lot of the children will look back on this. For me it’s about building a legacy.”

For many volunteers, alongside the great work that they do, it’s also something important for them as a person, and one of Anne’s favourite moments recently was supporting the recent Choir Tour to Northumberland.

“Definitely. It helps you feel like you belong somewhere, and you get to know people.

“The Choir Tour was just incredible, to see the smiles on the choristers’ faces, and the resilience as well. We often talk these days about children maybe not having much resilience, but these children would get wet and cold on the beach and then they’d march up ready for Evensong and put their gowns on (I was surprised we didn’t see steam coming off them!) and they’d just crack on with it. I just think they’re amazing.”

If you’re thinking of being a choir chaperone, or maybe one of many other roles, then Anne gave some tips for other budding volunteers.

“I’d say, find something that you think you can resonate with. I would say that you should be a square peg in a square hole – and I’d say go for it, as it’s a great way to be part of the church.”

Finally, returning to the recent Choir Tour, we asked Anne if she’d found her sea legs during the boat trip.

“I loved it! It was funny because people who know me would say I’m not much of an adventurer but, when it comes to boats, I was stood up and laughing!”

You can find out more about volunteering at Bradford Cathedral – including choir chaperoning – at

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