Singing teacher who worked with the stars visits her inspiration from North Somerset
PUBLISHED: 06:34 15 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:15 15 October 2017
A retired Claverham singing teacher, who unknowingly played a hand in helping world-renowned stars such as Lesley Garrett, has got to meet one of her most successful pupils for the first time in 35 years.
Eileen Singleton, aged 90, was visited by singing coach Jessica Cash at Mendip Lodge Care Home as part of the centre’s scheme to reunite residents with key figures from their life.
Eileen taught Jessica during her school days back in the 1950s but the pair lost touch over the years.
The value of her teaching at the Central Foundation School for Girls in London was emphasised by the impact it had on Jessica – she has gone on to coach several stars including Ms Garrett and English soprano Emma Kirby.
Jacob Puthet, who is the registered manager at Mendip Lodge, said it was fantastic to bring the pair together once more after so many years apart.
He said: “To help make Eileen feel more at home, I bought a piano for her to play every day and in order to keep in touch with music.
“Eileen also coached Jessica for all of her singing exams and, recognising her extraordinary singing capabilities, encouraged her to apply to The Royal College of Music, where Eileen had previously studied, to
further the potential in her singing career.
“She even went to the lengths of paying Jessica’s first terms fees from her own modest funds in order to allow Jeesica to make the appropriate impression to gain a scholarship for the rest of her study there.
“Unfortunately, the two had lost touch with each other and it was due to the initiative of Jim Forrest, activities co-ordinator at Mendip Lodge, that they were reunited.”
After several phone calls, Jim managed to track down Jessica’s son John who in turn contacted his mother.
Jessica travelled from her home down in Devon to spend several hours with Eileen and the 90-year-old’s daughter Rebecca for the reunion.
Jacob added: “They spent about four hours together chatting and also took great delight in listening to a recording they had made some 60 years ago of them both singing.
“All present resolved to ensure that it is rather less than 35 years until they next meet up.”