For Andrea Leadsome, the Leader of the House of Commons and someone who just a few months ago was on the verge of becoming Prime Minister, the Caring Sharing Trust Christmas Show was a welcome change of pace.
She was at the idyllic Cotton’s Farmhouse along with a very large number of the VIPs it is possible to rustle up in Northamptonshire: Northampton’s next Mayor Tony Ansell, Northampton’s Deputy Council Leader Phil Larrat, Chief Constable Simon Edens, any number of Mayors from other boroughs – you could almost hear the tinkling of chains of office between the songs.
Lena Davis was the Mistress of Ceremonies and conducted the event with merciless good humour like a bootcamp fairy godmother. At one point she drew approving ‘oohs’ for a joke about relocating the trust to a newly built headquarters in Angel Square…
The great and good come knowing that they are going to sit in rows on seats they would not be out of place at a school assembly. They know they are going to get pulled up on stage to dance and sing with The Cast – which is how the adults with learning disabilities who are part of the Trust’s work are referred to.
The Chief Constable’s footwork won him the honour of being the joint winner of the dance-off.
Caroline Scattergood, the Sundance Kid to Lena’s Butch Cassidy, led the singing. She is the definition of a showbiz trouper with a career as a cabaret singer and dancer behind her. She has stories to tell about a host of household names as does Lena who worked on the production side. She wrote Tell Laura I Love Her.
I have been going since my days at the Northampton Chronicle & Echo. I went when I was the Editor of the Herald & Post and now I am the Editor of The NeneQuirer I am still going. I arrived late and hoped to slip in quietly during a song. Unfortunately I opened the door of the auditorium at Cotton’s to be confronted by Lena holding a microphone in the en garde position. She announced my arrival to the whole concert and I made my way to the back to a round of applause.
Lena will tell you they work in the field of art therapy and there is indeed a slightly surreal atmosphere to the Christmas Concert not unlike watching a pantomime in which you may at any moment become part of the cast.
I grabbed a few comments from Andrea Leadsome afterwards who had to hurry on to visit some businesses in advance of Small Business Saturday. She was happy to take time to heap praise on the work at Cotton’s Farmhouse.
She summed it up as a welcome break from the intensity of political life in London and it must feel that way: a rural haven of stardust and good intentions. A clip of her comments follows below.