Artist Catalog

St. Winifred's School Choir

  • british
  • english
  • uk

St. Winifred's School Choir

St Winifred's School Choir, from St Winifred's Roman Catholic Primary School in Stockport, England, was a choir of children whose single in 1980 became that year's British Christmas number one single. Entitled "There's No One Quite Like Grandma", written for the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1980 by Gordon Lorenz, it became that year's British Christmas number one single. It sold one million copies, most of them Christmas presents from grandchildren. It spent two weeks at number one, and 11 weeks in the UK Singles Chart in total. Dawn Ralph provided the lead vocal of the song composed by award-winning record producer Gordon Lorenz. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, Miss Terri Foley trained and conducted the choir, who gave the Music for Pleasure record label its only UK No. 1 single.

The choir had been recording since 1972, when Foley played the guitar with the choir and the conductor was Miss Olive Moore. Their first major single came in November 1979. They had also been previously recorded as the backing vocalists of another eventual number one song, "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs" by Brian and Michael, which concerned the paintings of L.S. Lowry. In 1982, the choir released Christmas for Everyone; and Children's Party Time, which included 32 arrangements of songs including ABBA's "Waterloo" and "Dancing Queen".

One of the children who appeared on television in the 1980 recording was Sally Lindsay, who has gone on to become an actress, appearing in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street. Another, Jennifer Hennessy, is also a television actress and has appeared in the BBC drama Doctor Who and the BBC comedy The Office. Two more, Christine Cheetham and Diana Dyer, featured in the Identity Parade line-up on an autumn 1998 edition of BBC panel game, Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

In November 2009, 14 of the original choir members reunited to record a new version of "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" in association with Innocent Drinks to raise money for the Age Concern charity.

Dawn Ralph was the young female soloist who sang on "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma". She also made a number of live appearances at theatres. Although Ralph enjoyed the success, she didn't enjoy the publicity and turned down many offers, including one to appear in a West End production of Annie. She is married with children. Her last TV appearance was on This Is Your Life in the 1990s. The show focused on Sister Aquinas - the former headmistress of St Winifred's School who was honoured for her work.