Corby ex-soldier sings praises of health choir and invites people to join up

Peter Southern
Peter Southern

A Corby man who had been stuck at home with breathing problems has said a therapeutic choir has been a massive tonic.

Peter Southern had been encouraged to join the Singing 4 Breathing group by his specialist lung nurse.

Chris Startup - musical director

Chris Startup - musical director

The 70-year-old had been at a regular medical appointment to monitor his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

His nurse suggested he try the weekly Singing 4 Breathing group which meets in The Lab at The Core at Corby Cube.

Singing 4 Breathing is an award-winning singing group for people with respiratory conditions, such as COPD or asthma.

Peter said: "I was siting at home feeling sorry for myself.

Robert and Peter in action

Robert and Peter in action

"I had been diagnosed with COPD and as an ex-soldier I was used to being very active.

"I'd done my full 27 years in the Royal Artillery and got the rank of sergeant major.

"After the Army, I worked with social services for 14 years but then I had a breakdown because of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

A year and a half ago Peter decided to try the choir, which is recommended as a form of physiotherapy.

Chris Startup

Chris Startup

Research evidence has shown that singing can benefit people with COPD by working their diaphragmatic muscles and helping to improve lung function.

Peter said: "I'd never been a member of a choir before but the COPD nurse gave me a leaflet and I thought I'd go along and see what would happen.

"My lung function has definitely improved. It's not cured me but I feel much better physically and mentally too.

"It's a social event and it doesn't mater if you can sing or not - it's physio with fun."

Chris takes members through warm-up exercises

Chris takes members through warm-up exercises

Organiser of the Corby Singing 4 Breathing group Jacky Linnell said: "We would love to have more people join us.

"I believe that Corby has one of the highest rates of COPD in the UK."

Robert Scott, who joined the group at the same time as Peter, said: "I was diagnosed with COPD in 2008.

"Before I started at Singing 4 Breathing my lung spirometery test result was 60 per cent, now it's gone up to 72 per cent.

"I feel better and I sing three times a week, at Wellingborough, Kettering and at Corby."

Singing 4 Breathing was set up in 2015 by James Wyatt, an occupational therapist who was studying the benefits of singing for people with respiratory conditions.

British Lung Foundation and he incorporates breathing exercises and singing into each session.

British Lung Foundation and he incorporates breathing exercises and singing into each session.

Soon after starting, James teamed up with musician Chris Startup who has been trained by the British Lung Foundation and he incorporates breathing exercises and singing into each session.

Peter added: "The reason members attend is to help with their breathing of course, as this helps them to manage their conditions, but there is the social aspect.

"We are not a choir, we have evolved into a group of friends who look forward to meeting up every week.

"You don’t have to be able to sing. We do breathing exercises, and no-one is expected to do more than they can, so if you can only a bit then that’s fine.

"We have an hour session then several of us meet up for coffee and a chat afterwards.

"By coming to the group you realise that others are managing to go out, you're not the only one living with this condition and you're not alone."

Click here to find out more information about Singing 4 Breathing

Singing 4 Breathing Corby meets every Wednesday during term time from 10.30am to 11.30am; In Northampton on Wednesdays from 1pm to 2pm at Parklands Community Centre; at The

Crescents Community Centre, Kettering, on Tuesdays from 1pm to 2pm and at The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough, every Monday from 1pm to 2pm.

The first session is free and each subsequent session £5.

Many of the songs have actions

Many of the songs have actions

The Corby Singing 4 Breathing group meet in The Lab in The Core at Corby Cube

The Corby Singing 4 Breathing group meet in The Lab in The Core at Corby Cube

Jacky Linnell (on right)

Jacky Linnell (on right)