CHOIRS from across the north of England and Scotland met in Bolton for an annual event.

The Bolton Festival of Male Voice Praise was held on Saturday, April 7, at The Victoria Hall. More than 60 men from the region meet for an annual celebration of male choir singing, watched by a crowd of over 300. Mike Dewhurst, area organiser for the festival, said he was surprised by the large turnout, which was an improvement on last year.

He added: “It was better than we expected, it’s encouraging. I think everyone enjoyed themselves because they came out buzzing.”

This is the 39th edition of the Bolton event and the first time it has been held in The Victoria Hall, although Mr Dewhurst, aged 77, said plans are already in place to go back to the location next year.

He explained that the organisation’s 40th anniversary event would be held on April 27, next year, and he was hoping to see a big crowd once again. For the majority of the year the Bolton branch of the male choir visits community locations, such as care homes, and sings for older people.

While it used to enjoy a membership of more than 30, numbers have dropped in recent years. Mr Dewhurst has said that he hopes holding large events such as as this can inspired more people to join the national movement.

The choir is part of a British organisation which has been running for more than 80 years.

The Festival of Male Voice Praise runs events across the country, but has looked to Bolton to provide a location for the northern sections of its membership for a number of years.

It is a group which follows the Evangelical teachings of Christianity and Mr Dewhurst is an active member of Horwich Evangelical Church in Wright Street.

While it is the first time the UK Festival has visited The Victoria Hall, there was a large international event held at the location in June last year.

The meeting of the All Britain Festival of Male Voice Praise saw more than 200 singers gather together from as far as Canada and Australia.