MEMBERS of 110-year-old Steeton Male Voice Choir were given awards for long service at their latest rehearsal.

Choir president Len Wilson presented 40 years’ service medals to Ronald Crossley, from Cross Hills, and Kenneth Rainford, from Embsay.

Ken Wardell, from Ilkley, received an award for 25 years’ service, while recent arrival Robert Davidson, who lives in Haworth area, received his coveted Red Jacket.

They once came as the choir rehearsed for its Christmas concert, at 7.30pm on December 15 in the Cornerstones Community Centre in Cottingley. Admission is £8 including a mince pie and a drink.

Mr Wilson, who himself has been a member for well over 40 years, said he was honoured to present the long service awards.

Choir spokesman Eric Parker said: “Ronald Crossley was quite a capture for us, an experienced singer with Bradford Chorale and West Riding Opera, and a prizewinner as a bass soloist at many festivals.

“He has made a very big contribution to our choir for 40 years, with his operatic arias adding variety and a touch of class to our programmes.”

Kenneth Rainford joined the choir in 1966 but dropped out just a few years later to become landlord of the Black Bull Hotel at Cowling.

He rejoined in 1981, singing in the main body of the choir until just a few months ago when he sang solo with choir backing in Starlight Express.

Eric said: “That’s our Ken - an overnight success that only took him 39-and-a-bit years! But his contribution has been much more than his solo - 40 years of solid, devoted service hidden in the dark depths of the baritone section .”

Eric said Kenneth Wardell, the choir’s long-time recruiting officer, had served the choir unstintingly for 25 years.

Eric said: “He is a stalwart of the top tenor section and is still doing it despite in recent years clearly having something of a struggle. His determination to carry on deserves our thanks and admiration.”

Robert Davidson joined the choir recently and was presented with a Red Jacket – the choir’s official uniform for performances – during a rehearsal this month.

Scotsman Robert is an experienced singer who sang for a short time with a Welsh male choir.

Eric added: “He comes originally from Musselburgh and is greatly looking forward to next year’s tour and linking up with the community choir from his home town.”

A group of men in Steeton formed the choir 1908, Hume Wrathall becoming the first person to pick up the baton as musical director. The current MD is Catherine Sweet, who joined in summer 2017.