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Sir: The “Break­down Spot” (“Post Box”, Spring 2016) is the Mar­ket Square in Pot­ton, Bed­ford­shire.

I at­tach a present-day photo (see be­low). The cen­tral build­ing in your pic­ture still re­mains, and now houses the local li­brary on the ground floor, with the Town Coun­cil Cham­ber above. How­ever, the sur­round­ing one-storey con­struc­tion, known as The Sham­bles, was de­mol­ished in the 1950s.

Re­gard­ing the BBC Schools Ra­dio pro­gramme Singing To­gether I am mar­ried to the man who was its long­est-serv­ing pro­ducer, scriptwriter, ar­ranger and ed­i­tor, Dou­glas Coombes. He was in charge of this se­ries and an­other highly pop­u­lar and long-run­ning pro­gramme Time and Tune for 20 years from 1968 to 1988.

Dou­glas is still an ac­tive com­poser and con­duc­tor. Ev­ery sum­mer he con­ducts the Bat­tle Proms se­ries of con­certs in the grounds of stately homes such as Burgh­ley House, Hat­field House, Blen­heim Palace, High­clere Castle and Ra­gley Hall.

He was awarded an MBE in 2012 for Ser­vices to Mu­sic and re­ceived an Hon­orary Doc­tor­ate of Mu­sic from Glouces­ter­shire Univer­sity for Ser­vices to Mu­sic and the Univer­sity in 2010. He was also re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing pi­ano ar­range­ments of over 225 wor­ship songs in the BBC Come and Praise hymn­book se­ries — used in al­most ev­ery Pri­mary School in the coun­try. The col­lec­tion also in­cludes sev­eral of his orig­i­nal com­po­si­tions. — CA­ROLE COOMBES, POT­TON,

BED­FORD­SHIRE. *Thank you to ev­ery­one who has con­tacted us to iden­tify the lo­ca­tion and to share their won­der­ful mem­o­ries of Singing To­gether (see more let­ters be­low). An ar­ti­cle about the pro­gramme will feature in a forth­com­ing edi­tion of our sis­ter mag­a­zine Ev­er­green. — Ed. Sir: I re­mem­ber the BBC Schools Ra­dio pro­grammes (“Post Box”, Spring 2016) and Singing To­gether very well. I at­tended Kneller Girls School in Twick­en­ham in the late 1950s, early 1960s. I was part of the choir that was in­vited to sing in one of the pro­grammes. There was great ex­cite­ment and we had a won­der­ful time. What an ex­pe­ri­ence to sing on the ra­dio. We had lovely dough­nuts in the break be­fore trans­mis­sion!

My only re­gret was that my mother and fa­ther were at work so they missed the broad­cast. We were told that for the price of 10 shillings there would be a record pro­duced, but un­for­tu­nately tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties made that im­pos­si­ble. I of­ten won­der if “some­where” there is a record­ing of us singing — my one claim to fame. —


Sir: My hus­band re­calls Singing To­gether from his pri­mary school, es­pe­cially “The Grand Old Duke of York”, “Road to the Isles” and “Mar­i­an­ina” (he thought this last one ex­tremely silly). How­ever my mem­ory of the pro­gramme is rather dif­fer­ent.

In 1970, while study­ing for a Mu­sic Teacher’s Cer­tifi­cate at the Univer­sity of London, I was one of a group of students who were taken to Broad­cast­ing House to see the pro­gramme be­ing made. With the pro­ducer and the Schools Mu­sic Ad­viser we went to a tiny stu­dio in the base­ment, where a pi­anist and a singer (so­prano) were wait­ing.

It was the last pro­gramme in the se­ries; schools had been in­vited to write in with their favourite songs and there was a big bag of mail, show­ing the pro­gramme’s pop­u­lar­ity.

The songs were cho­sen, (which, I can’t un­for­tu­nately re­mem­ber) and we hud­dled qui­etly in a cor­ner while the pro­gramme went ahead, I think, live. At the end, we all cho­rused “Good­bye, ev­ery­one”, and that is the whole of my broad­cast­ing career! — EIRA COXON,

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