A borough choir for the elderly has appeared in a Christmas advert which will be shown on national television.
The Silver Choir, organised by the Wigan borough’s Age UK group, is featured in the Co-op’s festive ad which focuses on the best of Greater Manchester’s communities coming together at Christmas.
The Hindley outfit, which was set up by the council to combat loneliness in the older community, can be seen stretching their vocal chords just seconds into the advert, as well as the exterior of Hindley All Saints Church.
The group has been going for almost six years and continues to grow, having become one of the borough’s cultural success stories.
Sharon Darby-Purcell, choir mistress for the Silver Choir, said: “When Co-op approached us about the Christmas advert I was so excited and a little bit shocked. I never imagined we would be doing something like this.
“I feel like the choir brings so many people together, it’s a really good source of friends for so many people.”
She added: “Being part of the advert was just a wonderful experience.
“It was just the chance of a lifetime and something we never expected to happen. In the retirement age of life, you certainly don’t expect to engage in exciting projects like this.”
Filmed in the Co-op’s home city Manchester and around the North West it features a new recorded version of the Blur song Tender, which is performed by seven community groups.
As well as the Silver Choir, the advert features a vocal rugby team, urban beat boxers, a 93-year-old ukulele player and a Manchester reggae act.
As there were no actors cast in the advert, the director Max Fisher, who has a background in youth work, spent time with each community music group to build rapport ahead of filming.
There were intentionally no rehearsals in advance of the shoot, in a bid to keep the interactions in the advert as genuine as possible, and illustrate the “authentic feelings of happiness that come from spending time with friends and family at Christmas.”
And while some viewers might feel the Co-op might have to play catch-up on other retailers who released their annual adverts weeks ago, the Co-op revealed it had intentionally delayed the new ad.
The decision to do so came after new research suggested that almost half the nation says that the first day of December is when they actually start to feel the Christmas vibe.
Three out of five Brits even said they felt Christmas adverts start too early.
Amanda Jennings, marketing communications director at Co-op, said: “For us, the Christmas TV advert has always started in December.
“Christmas is about togetherness and we have chosen two of the great unifiers, food and music, to showcase this and bring Christmas back to what really matters.
“It’s all about those little moments that bring people together at Christmas.”
The track is also available to download on all mainstream platforms. All proceeds from the track will be going to the Co-op Foundation charity.