We’ve launched our 40 for 40 challenge

31 May 2023

Are you up for a challenge in 2023?


To mark our 40th anniversary this year, we are launching our 40 for 40’ challenge where we are asking our supporters to choose something with the theme of 40 which they can do to raise money for Wren Music.

For inspiration, here’s what some of our supporters have already pledged to do – and their stories behind why they’ve decided to take part …

Penny Avant has been singing with Wren Music choirs for almost 30 years and her husband John is also a singer and musician with some of our community groups. Penny is using her craftivism skills to make 40 things with messages on them which she hopes will help to spread the word about Wren Music: “My idea is to make 40 badges or mats or something you can hang, out of felt or card. They will have a wren on them and a message which reflects Wren Music’s motto of ‘A World Where Every Voice is Heard’, because that’s what I found. I’d never sung before I joined the choir in Exeter, because I was told at school that I couldn’t sing. I always sang in the car with the children and at home but never in public because I thought I was out of tune. When I found Wren, it felt like magic. I discovered that I could sing. In ‘Her Story’, I sang a few words on my own which I would never have dreamed of. Even though I now live in Cornwall, I still sing with Wren in Okehampton when I can. They’re more than a choir to me; they feel like family.”

Roland Pyle from South Devon has sung with the MenSing choir, and his wife Jane and son Richard have also been closely involved with Wren Music for many years. Roland plans to participate in a 40-mile sponsored bike ride this summer, having previously cycled from Bristol to Okehampton in a Wren Music fundraiser: “Wren Music have been a big part of our lives. For me, personally, it gave me huge confidence in singing, and singing in public. It’s an inspiring organisation, encouraging people to get involved in singing and playing, and establishing friendships through music, which is really valuable. I had the great privilege to go to Sardinia with some friends and people from Wren to sing there in a fabulous church, and to listen to the traditional Sardinian folk singers, Sos Cantores de Garteddi (Galtelli). It was a spine-tingling experience, and one I’ll never forget.”

Ruth Cartlidge is a singer with our West Devon Folk Choir and Her Story; a volunteer with our Sing & Play group for under-5s and their parents/carers. She is doing 40 lengths at the 25-metre swimming pool at Okehampton Leisure Centre, with the aim of completing the lengths within 40 minutes: “I’ve been aware of Wren Music since forever! The choirs are a super opportunity for people to enjoy singing in a welcoming, relaxed, inclusive environment. And they’re a fantastic organisation with the work that they do on lots of levels, from projects like Singing for Wellness, to maintaining and adding to the collection of traditional music. For me, working with the little ones, seeing them hold a real musical instrument, is completely joyful. Wren’s longevity speaks volumes – and I just want it to keep going for another 40 years.”

Our 40 for 40 fundraisers will be seeking sponsorship from family and friends and we’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone joining in. Our target is to raise £10,000 by the end of December 2023, which will go towards continuing the work the charity does in communities across Devon.

If you want to take part visit justgiving.com/campaign/wren40