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Diss based South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band thanks air ambulance for saving life of musical director with some fund-raising

A symphonic band based in Diss has raised almost £900 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, after the service saved the life of its musical director.

Mike Booty, 80, from Diss, suffered a major heart attack at the beginning of November, followed by further heart attacks after being air-lifted to Norfolk and Norwich hospital by air ambulance.

After a seven-week stay in hospital, Mr Booty, who founded the band in 1974 and has been the South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band’s director for 48 years, was able to return home.

Phil McGahan (left) with Mike Booty.
Phil McGahan (left) with Mike Booty.

He has since returned to the band and has been able to conduct two rehearsals.

Band members were keen to support the air ambulance in the wake of its intervention, and organised a busking session in Harleston and a collection at the band’s Christmas concert, along with a donation by the band, helping to raise £870.

“The members of the band all agreed that they would like to raise some money, so, on December 17, on a very cold, but sunny morning, a few players busked outside Harleston Co-Op and raised £305,” said the band’s treasurer Mandy Carter.

“The next day at the Christmas concert, a retiring collection raised a further £115, then the band donated a further £450, so the total amount to be handed over was £870.

“On January 17 at band rehearsal, a cheque was presented to Phil McGahan, an air ambulance representative, who emphasised just how much this money means to them.

“Coincidentally, Phil was himself the former secretary of the band, his daughter having been a member of the clarinet section, which is just an example of how many people have had a connection with band over the years.”

The South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band plans to continue its efforts to raise money for the charity, and has planned a concert to take place in Diss Corn Hall on June 17 to raise further funds for the service.

Mr Booty, who attended the cheque handover, said: “I would like to express my sincere thanks to the air ambulance and its vital work, which undoubtedly saved my life on that day.”

The South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band has raised many thousands of pounds for charities and regularly gives several concerts each year.

It has twice played and been presented to HRH the Princess Royal, once in the Royal Albert Hall, and was presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service back in 2006.

The band is completely independent, and its major source of income are two annual events – the ‘songs from the shows’ concert and a Christmas concert.

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