Tribute to top choir founder

An inspirational choir founder who steered her girls to international success will be remembered at a special concert.

Pamela Cook devoted 45 years of her life to Cantamus Girls Choir, winning competitions across the globe including first place at the 2006 World Choir Games in China.

She taught singing in top colleges in Birmingham and Manchester but always came home to Mansfield where she was a lifelong resident.

Sheila Haslam, who has been secretary of the choir since 1968, said: “Pamela thought a great deal of the town and the people in it.”

That sentiment will be reciprocated on February 22, when a bronzed head of Pamela, who died in 2013 at the age of 76, will be unveiled by her husband Geoffrey.

The money for the sculpture was raised through public donations after the idea of setting up the Pamela Cook Memorial Fund was presented to the choir’s management committee by Cllr Christine Smith.

“It is absolutely vital that Pamela be remembered,” said Sheila. “She has been such an influence on young people in the town and surrounding areas. We have had 400 girls going through the choir in 45 years.”

These include Lucy Kay, who was runner up in Britain’s Got Talent last year and several girls who have taken leading roles in operas all over the world.

Under Pamela’s direction, Cantamus won 28 first prizes in events as far afield as Japan, Malaysia and Switzerland. One of Cantamus’ greatest achievements was being declared Choir of the World at Llangollen.

Current members of the choir will be performing in concert as part of the unveiling ceremony.

The programme will include a piece commissioned from Andrew Downes who Pamela met while teaching at Birmingham Conservatoire. Sheila said: “It is a piece called Butterfly which is the symbol of Cantamus. A butterfly lives a short time and then flies away.”

The concert on February 22 at Mansfield Palace Theatre starts at 3pm. Tickets are £15. Contact 0759 326 180 or