Oz Clarke joins band of Warwick musicians for charity bike ride - The Leamington Observer

Oz Clarke joins band of Warwick musicians for charity bike ride

A BAND of musicians from Warwick hit a high note with a charity biking challenge – and a famous face even came along for the ride.

Choir and music charity Armonico Consort joined forces with the wine writer, broadcaster and former choral singer Oz Clarke for a 200-mile bike ride, raising over £14,000 for its Memory Singers projects for people living with dementia.

Smashing their £10,000 target, the 16-strong team of musicians and supporters spent four days cycling from Armonico Consort’s home in Warwick to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, home of the legendary composer Benjamin Britten.

The cycling musicians called in at five care homes along the route, giving interactive mini-concerts in Rugby, Rushden, St Ives, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. They also hosted a session for Aldeburgh-based music charity Britten Pears Arts for participants of their Later Life programme.

Residents enjoyed singing, clapping and joining in with percussion instruments to a wide variety of music, from Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Dancing Queen, to the rhythmic energy of Baroque music in which Armonico are specialists.

Oz Clarke also donated £1,000 to the charity’s appeal from his appearance on ITV’s The Chase Celebrity Special.

Music offers incredible well-being benefits for people with dementia, helping to reconnect memories and alleviate anxiety as well as improving health more generally.

Oz said: “It was 200 miles of bottom-numbing torture, but it’s all worth it when you see the effect it has on people living with dementia. We had residents singing along, joining in, using movement, interacting with one another and simply enjoying themselves, and it’s those life-enhancing benefits that make this such a valuable cause.”

Sue Mitchell, spokesperson for Anya Court Care Home in Rugby, said, “This far exceeded our expectations, the music and singing were just incredible with everyone joining in – residents, team and family members that were present.”

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