Wigan centenarian proves she still has fine voice more than 90 years after singing with Halle Orchestra

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A centenarian who performed with the famous Manchester Halle Orchestra as a child showed her love of singing had not diminished.

Now 100, Dorothy Randles could still hit all the right notes when she displayed her vocal talents at a new social group.

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She had been a member of Manchester Children’s Choir, which featured 250 children with no musical training from 50 schools.

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Dorothy Randles, 100, raises a pint at the pubDorothy Randles, 100, raises a pint at the pub
Dorothy Randles, 100, raises a pint at the pub

They rehearsed for a year and then recorded Purcell’s Nymphs and Shepherds with the Halle Orchestra under the baton of St Hamilton Harty at the Free Trade Hall in June 1929.

Released on the Columbia label, it sold more than one million copies and 60 years later it was awarded a gold disc, inscribed with every child’s name.

The story of the recording was the basis for the musical That Day We Sang, written by comedian Victoria Wood.

Dorothy did not pursue a career in music, but instead trained as a secretary.

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Dorothy RandlesDorothy Randles
Dorothy Randles

However, it was clear her love for singing had not diminished when she attended a new social group at the Cart and Horses pub in Astley.

Dorothy, a widowed mother of two who lives in sheltered accommodation, had been planning to stay for a couple of hours.

But she took to the karaoke, singing Eight Days A Week and The White Cliffs of Dover, and was still there when the event was ending five hours later.

Landlady Elaine Brooks said: “We’ve started to host these social afternoons to help people – especially pensioners or those who might be feeling lonely – to get back out again.

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"On the day Dorothy came we had musicians, karaoke, as well as a bite to eat. Dorothy was joining in – dancing, playing the tambourine and singing one song after another. What’s more she had so much energy and was literally one of the last to leave.

"It was wonderful to learn she’d actually been a member of this famous children`s choir, though I`m not surprised.”

Elaine said: “I lost my own mam at 90 during lockdown so Dorothy struck a chord with me. I was literally crying as she was singing along and shaking her tambourine.”

Before leaving, Dorothy said: “That was wonderful - I really did enjoy that.”

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