Wanstead and Woodford Rock Choir raises more than £3,700 for suicide charity Maytree with concert at St Mary's Church, Loughton

Singer's struggle with depression inspires fundraising concert

Wanstead and Woodford Rock Choir performing in St Mary's Church, Loughton

Ali McGowan talks to the audience.

First published in News by

MORE than 150 singers gathered to raise a church’s rafters and thousands of pounds for a lifesaving charity.

An audience of 300 packed St Mary’s Church in Loughton on Saturday to see the Wanstead and Woodford Rock Choir perform.

The concert raised more than £3,700 for Maytree, a North London-based charity that provides free accommodation and support for suicidal people.

The event was the brainchild of member Ali McGowan, of Greenfields, Loughton, who was helped by a stay at the charity’s respite centre in 2010.

The 48-year-old had contemplated suicide following a long battle with depression which saw her lose her job as a paramedic.

“I could have done a parachute jump, but that would have been much easier than spending two months arranging an event like this,” said Ms McGowan, who joined the choir a year after visiting Maytree.

“It is like music therapy. It has totally transformed my life, to the extent that when we finished for the summer in July I cried.

“Our choir has a large number of members who joined for exactly that reason and it has transformed their lives. “

Ms McGowan opened the performance with a speech, sharing her own experiences and explaining the importance of the service provided by Maytree.

“My GP has been such a support through my depressive illness and suicidal crisis and is so keen for people to seek help and not say what I did – ‘I would rather die than go into hospital’,” she said.

“I wanted to raise money for Maytree and also bring awareness to the place.”

The line-up included performances of Something Inside so Strong, How Deep is Your Love and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

“The event was a roaring success – the whole church was absolutely rocking,” said Ms McGowan.

“We had the founder of Maytree there and she was so overwhelmed she couldn’t do her speech.”

  • For more information about Maytree, visit www.maytree.org.uk or call 0207 272 6863.
  • For more details about Rock Choir and forthcoming events, visit www.rockchoir.com or email christina@rockchoir.com.

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