A CHOIR for deaf people has been set up in Witney.

Handy Voices will teach people how to use sign language rather than words to perform songs.

It will meet for the first time next week and plans to hold its first performance alongside a mainstream children’s choir in November.

Mum-of-one Clare Saunders, 50, who helped form the group, said: “Signed choirs are something that’s taking off in the UK at the moment but we don’t know of any others in Oxfordshire. The big thing behind it is involving deaf people in making music and an activity that they can join in together with people who can hear.”

The choir will be run alongside Songscope young singers group, for which Ms Saunders volunteers as an administrator.

Its performance of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat at Witney’s High Street Methodist Church in June was interpreted in sign language for the benefit of deaf audience members.

It has links with the Music and the Deaf charity and its founder Paul Whittaker, who is deaf, is a patron of Songscope.

The charity runs a signed choir in Huddersfield and Ms Saunders, an adminstrator at The Oxfordshire Museum, decided to launch her own group with Songscope musical director Paul Herrington.

Contact Ms Saunders on clare.saunders20@talktalk.net

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