In 1953 a group of locals decided to form a company with the sole intention of providing entertainment to those in adversity. That group was The Revelaires and they are still going strong today. We met with Sheila Marsden to find out all about the group.

Sheila always wanted to perform. When she was little she learned to dance. Her mother was Irish and had a great singing voice. Entertainment was part of life and The Revelaires has been very much part of the family. When she was 18 Sheila took her friend Janis along as company to her audition. Her friend ended up joining too. As a bonus, Janis met her husband Peter (currently the sole male Revelaire) through the group. Then Sheila’s little sister Karen begged to join, which she did when she was 14. All 4 of them are still members. Sheila has been with the group for over 50 years.

The Revelaires is an amateur revue company which visits dementia units, day centres, nursing, residential and retirement homes across Spelthorne, Elmbridge and Runnymede to bring a smile to those who may be struggling or lonely. They group is self funding, relying on donations which pay for the lighting, sound equipment, costumes (which are made by one of the members) and insurance.

When I asked Sheila what had kept her interest and enthusiasm for the group for such a long time, she answered simply “to see the radiance on the faces of a dementia audience is worth everything”. As the first notes of music are playing the audience is alert to songs which may jolt memories. There is no doubting the driver is the desire to spread some love and happiness.

Shows comprise cabaret style solos, group songs, dance and some comedy. The Revelaires team are hugely committed and love what they do. Rehearsals are weekly and the show season around homes runs from October to April. The group also puts on two public fund raising shows in April and October at Chertsey Hall. We will bring you more news on the Autumn show in due course. If you like the sound of The Revelaires, Sheila would be delighted to hear from you. The group would dearly love some more men to join. The age range is currently 19-72 so no excuses!

If you like the sound of it please call Sheila Marsden on 01784 252407 or email sheilamarsden2000@yahoo.co.uk.
It is so humbling to meet such a dedicated lady as Sheila and hear how much pleasure she and her group get from bringing a smile to the faces of those whose lives may not be all that easy.