Members of Kempston Musical Society organised a special celebration for the woman who has been their leader for four decades.
The surprise party for Janet Welsh, which took place at Kempston East Methodist Church last Saturday, began with a personalised version of one of her favourite hymns, Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus.
Penned by Roland Carpenter, the rendition included memorable moments from the last 40 years.
Later, Janet was presented with a crystal grand piano musical box, a bracelet, theatre vouchers, a bouquet of flowers and a cakewith a rice picture of Janet conducting the choir.
About 90 of Janet’s friends and choir, including past members, put on a lavish tea, and Janet cut the cake.
For more than 40 years, Janet has welcomed and encouraged people to join the choir, and has rarely missed a rehearsal or concert.
Janet is also musical director of the Ouse Valley Singers, Bedford Hospital Choir and Bedford Messiah Choir.
She has promoted choral singing throughout Beds and internationally, with charity concerts in France, Germany, Australia and in the Vatican City in front of the Pope.In bringing her love of music to thousands, Janet has raised over £250,000 for charity.
She has received a Citizen’s Award from the High Sheriff of Beds for services to music and fundraising and the Winifred Fowler Award and the Mayor’s Overall Borough Award for services to music in Bedford.
In 2011, Janet was invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, in recognition of services to local charities.