MBE award is a ‘true honour’ for choir stalwart

Kinder Choir founder Joyce Ellis MBE
Kinder Choir founder Joyce Ellis MBE

A High Peak woman who has dedicated over 20 years to providing singing training to children has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Joyce Ellis founded Kinder Children’s Choir in 1991, to provide children from seven to 18 with a training programme in vocal and choral skills.

Having failed her own high school choir audition aged 12, Joyce’s steely determination to succeed saw her go on to carve out a hugely successful professional singing career, which included performing at La Scala, Milan.

And after her own childhood experience, Joyce’s vision for the Kinder Children’s Choir was to offer an educational experience for all youngsters, with no audition to join.

On learning of her award, Joyce, of Birch Vale, said: “I just wept and wept. I found it a very moving experience.

“It is very humbling to receive this award as I am very aware that it is not a “right of passage” but a true honour.

“I am delighted that the publicity for my award raises the profile of children’s choral education, the fact that children find their voices in their own time and that it is not always appropriate to judge by audition.

“Virtually all can achieve excellence together through professional teaching and their own commitment and endeavour.

“It is a privilege to have worked with so many young people who have demonstrated those values and given great entertainment to their audiences.”

A number of other residents of the High Peak, Hope Valley and Derbyshire Dales have also been honoured.

Bradwell’s Professor Pamela Jean Shaw, Professor of Neurology at the University of Sheffield, has been made a Dame for services to neuroscience. Professor Shaw’s work has led to a much better understanding of motor neurone disease.

She also led the development of the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, a state-of-the-art dedicated research facility which is already becoming an international centre of excellence for basic and applied research in neurodegenerative disease.

Fellow Hope Valley resident, Emeritus Professor Anthony Crook, has been awarded a CBE for services to housing and charitable governance.

Professor Crook served as chair of housing and homelessness charity Shelter from May 2009 until October 2013 and is also currently deputy chair of the Orbit Housing Group.

Cllr Andrew Lewer, former leader of Derbyshire County Council, has been awarded an MBE for services to local government.

And Bakewell’s David Rawson, who is involved in a number of organisations in the town, including the Rotary Club, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the community.