By William West and Rose Hodgson
When Shelter was founded in 1966 in order to campaign to end homelessness and bad housing in England and Scotland perhaps no-one could have guessed how much more it would be still needed some 50 or more years later. Shelter in Manchester held a 10 kilometre sponsored walk on Wednesday 11th December in the evening and one of the walkers was Jo Melzack a member of our choir. It was a cold damp night reminding us of the conditions that rough sleepers often face in these winter months. The choir was part of the welcome that awaited the walkers back at their finishing point of Manchester Central.
Apart from our usual festive songs like Oley Leyloyla, Tar Barrel in Dale, and Riu Riu Chiu, some of our other songs had an added poignancy in their relation to poverty and homelessness. For example Past Three A Clock the basses sing albeit in an upbeat way “Our bellies and pockets are painfully empty, so bring out your beer, and mince pies a plenty” Or in I Wish I Knew How we all sing “I wish I could give all I’m longing to give, I wish I could live like I’m longing to live.” Some of the words from May your cup always be full seem to apply both to the Shelter walkers and to our hopes for ourselves and those less fortunate – “May your cup always be full, and may your table always have enough to share, And may your footsteps always be sure on the road, that you travel” And towards the end of our set Happy Together seemed to really capture something of the spirit of those walking and supporting Shelter on that cold damp evening.
Rose Hodgson (our MD) adds
First of all a big thank you to everyone who came along on Wednesday evening to sing out in the cold (under a lovely full moon!) for the walkers at the Shelter sponsored walk event. We did a great job. There was a lovely atmosphere and we were really well received by walkers and Shelter staff. Good job everyone!