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There will not be many choirs in the UK who can pride themselves on receiving a major award from Princess Elizabeth, just before she became Queen Elizabeth II.

Well on the 23rd June 1951, she presented Tom Mearis of Felling Male Voice Choir with “The Festival of Britain Trophy”. What an achievement to reflect upon as the choir look forward to their Centenary in 2020.

The skill of the conductor, Tom Mearis, was demonstrated not only in the wonderful singing of the choir, but his excellent ear for music. When the official accompanist gave the choir the wrong starting note on the piano, Tom asked for it again, “but the correct one this time”. All his years as a piano tuner had paid off on this occasion. The adjudicators remarks were full of praise for the choir. Ernest Bullock on his own composition said “I shall not again hear it sung like that”. Dr. Herbert Howells – “One listened in admiration and ceased one’s scribbling”. The trophy has a place of honour in the Gateshead Mayor’s Parlour to this day.