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Brand new 'Thomas the Tank Engine' story comes to Rodborough

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Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 09:00

The ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ stained glass window The ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ stained glass window

A special concert is set to be held this month at St Mary Magdalene Church in Rodborough.

The show, called ‘Thomas Saves Christmas’, was written by local authors and sisters Katie Fforde and Jane Gordon-Cumming, will feature music from local choir the Thames Head Singers, and will be narrated by BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Dominic Cotter.

“We wanted to do something to raise money for Rodborough Church and asked the choir if they would do a concert,” said Katie, who is a member of the Thames Head Singers.

“The choir committee thought it would be fun to do something a bit different and came up with the notion of using Thomas the Tank Engine.”

Rodborough and Thomas the Tank Engine have a special connection.

Reverend Wilbert Awdry, the creator of the popular children’s character, retired to the village in the 1960s, and regularly preached at the church.

There is even a stained glass window depicting Thomas at the church, commissioned by the Reverend in memory of his wife, Margaret.

“Many people know of the connection between Thomas and Rodborough Church,” explained Katie.

“Parties come from as far away as Japan to look at the stained glass window.”

Katie, an author of almost thirty books, got together with Thames Head Singers’ musical director Andrew Hopwood and his wife Frances to piece together a brand new Thomas the Tank Engine story.

They soon enlisted Katie’s sister Jane – also an author who most recently published her romantic novel ‘A Proper Family Christmas’ – to help finalise the script.

Katie continued: “We formed a very rough storyline and then I asked my sister to put it into a proper script, in verse!

“This was a big ask but I know Jane is good at this sort of thing.”

The concert tells a festive story, with nearly of the songs having a locomotive theme.

The Thames Head Singers’ musical director Andrew Hopwood says he has spent hours on new arrangements for ‘Chattanooga Choo-Choo’, and Chris Rhea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ especially for this event and that preparations are well underway.

“Rehearsals are going well and the choir are getting to grips with a number of new songs for the concert,” he said.

“One of the songs – ‘I’m a Train’ by Albert Hammond – is something I’ve wanted to do for many years.”

Profits from the concert, which takes place on Saturday 21st December, will go towards the upkeep of the church.

Katie adds that the show is set to be one of the choir’s more unique concerts, and they can’t wait to perform.

She said: “Audiences can expect a mixture of a traditional nativity – all the values are there – but in a novel setting.

“It has traditional carols and Christmas songs. It should have something for everyone in it.”

For more information on the Thames Head Singers visit www.thsingers.org.uk

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