The Swedish Nightingale

One of the great privileges of being Mayor is to nominate a charity. My chosen charity is Age UK Worcester and Malvern Hills. One of my predecessors, Mayor Padmore, assisted with choosing which charity would benefit from proceeds raised at a special musical event in 1849.

Jenny Lind, an opera singer known as the Swedish Nightingale, visited Worcester by invitation of the Bishop, the Right Reverend Henry Pepys, to perform at College Hall for ‘one night only’ on Friday 2 February 1849 in aid of charity. He called a meeting of local dignitaries and requested suggestions for which charity should be the beneficiary. Mayor Padmore was among the group and helped with the selection of Worcester Infirmary.

Ms Lind and her company of performers raised £840. The proceeds were given to the infirmary for the creation of a chapel and to assist with other monetary needs. The sum of £840 was quite considerable in 1849, today it would be equivalent to over £87,000, an extremely generous donation.

2024 will be the 175th anniversary of this remarkable philanthropic achievement.

I recently met Michele and Cat Lammas, from Hatpin Productions CIC who are working with a team of volunteers and project partners to create celebrations of the event during the 175th anniversary year. We discussed the outline arrangements and I offered to support the venture wholeheartedly, initially with introductions to members of our local musical community. I look forward to seeing the development of this anniversary celebration and being involved in the plans as they move forward.

Hatpin Productions CIC is a non-profit company based at The Kiln Co-working offices in the city centre. The chosen charity for anniversary event donations is Acorns Children’s Hospice.

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