Community grants deliver surprise for visitors to Christchurch Mansion 

A grant from the Thomas Wolsey 550 Project has helped a singing group charity learn songs for flashmobs at heritage sites in Ipswich.

Christchurch Mansion was the venue recently for a flashmob made possible with a grant from the Thomas Wolsey 550 project.

Last year, the Thomas Wolsey 550 Project was pleased to make a series of grants totalling over £30,000 to a range of community groups and charities. One of those grants was to a charity called Music in Our Bones which runs sessions for anyone who thinks singing with others might lift their spirits. 

The grant was to help the charity run sessions in Ipswich which will culminate in members taking part in flashmobs at sites of heritage interest across the borough.  

The first of these flashmobs took place at Christchurch Mansion. Visitors were quietly enjoying the displays and exhibits when suddenly around 20 lovely singers came together in the great hall and burst into a brilliant rendition of the well-known song ‘Lean on me’.  

Many of the singers who enjoy sessions with Music in Our Bones are people who have experienced a stroke, who are living with long term conditions like Parkinsons and dementia, or their carers and family members.  

The Ipswich flashmob was organised by Tracy Sharp, singing leader and one of the founders of the group. Afterwards, Tracy said: “So many of those singing hadn’t been in the Mansion for decades. It was great for them to enjoy that feeling of singing somewhere so grand and beautiful and many enjoyed a look round afterwards. I would like to offer my thanks to our funders for making the day possible.” 

Aly Tipping from the Wolsey 550 Project said: “The flashmob was made up of singers from five different groups who had all been rehearsing separately before coming together at the Mansion – many accompanied by their family and friends. The singing gave joy to both the participants and those working or visiting the Mansion and we were very proud that our grant could make this happen.” 

The Music in Our Bones team has two other flashmobs planned over the coming months at secret locations linked to heritage sites in Ipswich. As well as bringing a smile to the visitors at such sites, it also means that participants can visit well-known sites linked to Ipswich’s rich history.  

The Wolsey 550 grants were part of wider funding for the project awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund last year. The project will run until September 2024 and was established and supported by Ipswich Central.  

Music in Our Bones was also one of four choirs which sang carols in various places in Ipswich town centre before Christmas as part of Ipswich Central’s festive celebrations. Shoppers were able to pause from hunting for Christmas gifts to enjoy beautiful singing and a free mince pie at venues such as the Thomas Wolsey pub, Town Hall steps and inside The Buttermarket complex. 

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