Singing with Sole! Fishwives choir gets boost when Newlyn girl Hannah joins up
A NEWLYN singer whose family are steeped in the port's fishing heritage has agreed to join a national choir that hopes to replicate the success of The Fishermen's Friends and The Military Wives.
Hannah Pascoe, who sings as a soloist with the Mousehole and Holman's Climax Male Voice Choirs, Penzance Operatic Society and Duchy Operatic Society, and sings with the Goonvrea Singers, will travel up to Sussex on Thursday to join up with 40 women who have never met - and most of whom have never sung!
They will spend two days rehearsing a newly penned fishing song none of them have heard before and then two days recording in a professional studio.
The hope is that they will then go on to climb the charts - raising awareness of the work of The Fishermen's Mission as they go.
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The Fishwives Choir was created by Essex fisherman's widow Jane Dolby, whose trawlerman husband Colin was lost at sea in 2008 in a freak storm.
The 40 women, from as far away as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and are all from fishing families and many have lost men at sea.
Hannah hasn't, but she felt that it was worth giving the choir a helping hand after they put out a national call for volunteers.
The mother-of-one from Newlyn said: "My dad Denys is a fisherman and three of my four brothers – Andrew, David and James – are fishermen."
Fishing goes back many generations in the Pascoe family and even Hannah's husband, Ryan Ladd, is an auctioneer for Stevensons', and has a boat he uses to fish for mackerel in the summer.
Hannah said: "The aim of the choir is to raise awareness for the Mission. When I was thinking about whether to join the Choir I spoke to Sue Hendricks from Perranporth who lost her husband.
"She said that without a body the authorities won't issue a death certificate and so she was in limbo with no way to get money or change bank payments. That is the same situation for many women who lose their husbands at sea and that is when The Fishermen's Mission steps in.
"A lot of people see the Mission in Newlyn as a place for the older men to go and play pool, but it's an important part of the community and does a lot for fishermen, so I thought I should do my bit."
Hannah will travel up to Hastings with mother Mary who will help babysit two-year-old daughter Molly while Hannah sings.
She said: "I'm not sure what to expect, it could be fantastic or it could be quite scary, but I've already met Sue and her daughter Jenny Ansell and they are both lovely and we got on straight away.
"All of the women will have something in common so I'm sure we'll all get along."
Hannah is one of just three Cornish women joining the choir, and she wasn't initially sure about whether to take part either because of the travel and cost of being involved.
But she said a peculiar coincidence tipped the balance.
"When I spoke to Sue from Perranporth she said the boat her husband Brian worked on before he died was the Lamorna. That boat actually now belongs to my brothers Andrew and James and they fish her out of Newlyn. When I heard that I decided it must be some sort of sign that I had to go up there!"
The Fishwives Choir are already getting TV and radio coverage and Hannah's story is due to feature on ITV in the next few days.
Learn more about the Fishwives Choir at www.facebook.com/thefishwiveschoir
and follow the girls on twitter at www.twitter.com/fishwiveschoirs