Town to net dozens of fishwives for charity record

The Hastings contingent of The Fishwives Choir
The Hastings contingent of The Fishwives Choir

WOMEN from all over the country will be descending on Hastings in two weeks’ time for the recording of The Fishwives Choir’s charity single.

Many of the 35 singers, all of whom have family connections to the fishing industry, will be meeting for the first time, and are coming from as far afield as Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as fishing communities in Essex, Devon and Cornwall.

From April 25 to 28 they will be rehearsing intensively at St Mary-in-the-Castle then recording at Appleyard Studios, with the help of the team behind the now famous Military Wives choir.

The choir was set up by Jane Dolby, from Southend, who lost her trawlerman husband at sea in a freak storm.

Inspired by choirs such as The Port Isaac Fisherman’s Friends, The Rock Choir and the Military Wives, she set out to raise money for charity The Fishermen’s Mission, which helped her through such a difficult time in her life.

Jane said: “Our whole family has been helped so much by The Fishermen’s Mission and I had an idea for putting together a choir called The Fishwives to sing to raise money for the charity. Last summer, I posted a little note on Facebook asking any women connected to commercial fishermen if they were interested in joining.”

The response has far exceeded her expectations, and in total there are now around 70 choir members nationwide, many of whom had never sang before.

Since then, Jane and the other choir members have appeared on TV and radio to promote the project.

Hastings was chosen as the recording location as the largest number of women come from the town. The song itself is being kept tightly under wraps, but Jane did reveal that it is a ‘mash up’ of two very well-known fishing songs, and the record is due to be released in the summer.

Jane added: “I never thought of a life beyond the single, but we have had so many invitations to perform at fishing festivals, folk festivals and maritime-related venues and events, that I’m now planning to develop the girls into a proper working choir with a good set of songs so we can accept these performance opportunities.

Follow the choir’s progress via Facebook at www.facebook.com/thefishwiveschoir, or on Twitter @fishwiveschoirs.