Cuckfield choir mark’s pianist’s 90th birthday

The accompanist of the Cuckfield over-60s Cuckoo Choir Fiona Fawssett marks her 90th birthday - picture submitted
The accompanist of the Cuckfield over-60s Cuckoo Choir Fiona Fawssett marks her 90th birthday - picture submitted
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The Cuckfield Cuckoo Choir have thrown a surprise party for their accompanist as she marked her 90th birthday .

Fiona Fawssett’s 90th surprise birthday celebrations got underway when she arrived at her weekly Cuckoo Choir rehearsal earlier this month.

As usual, she drove from her home, to the Old School, Cuckfield, to accompany the Cuckoo Choir’s weekly rehearsal, one of several choirs she plays for.

The tea and biscuits were nowhere to be seen on arrival however. Instead much to her surprise and delight, Fiona was greeted by a magnificent cake, resembling a keyboard and four dozen male and female admirers singing ‘Happy Birthday’.

The Cuckoo Choir was started by Sarah Cheesmur in 2013 solely for retired people, thanks to West Sussex Initiative Community Fund and the Independent State of Cuckfield.

Its only entrance requirement is to love singing and the group aims to offer good companionship and fun.

Sarah said: “Fabulous Fiona. Who’d ever think she was 90? The choir wouldn’t be the same without her. She’s just brilliant, talented - a lovely lady.”

Jane Haughton, musical director of the choir added: “Fiona is a legend - a completely wonderful asset, from her years of experience and her love of music.”

After the cake and toasts the choir start their rehearsal as normal with Fiona’s favourite, Mozart, to Irish folk songs and Gershwin’s ‘They Can’t Take That Away’.

She first came to Cuckfield in 1936, after playing the piano from age five, to accompany her mother, a singer, in London.

She returned to the area after the war, married in 1958 and moved to Staplefield in 2001.

The choir’s appearances at events like the Cuckfield Christmas Tree Festival have been well received. Musical director Jane has helped gently but firmly channel the energy into confident, polished four-part and unison performances.

The choir meets every Friday between 2-3.30pm. For more information visit www.singingallsorts.co.uk/cuckoo-choir