Raising funds for the Faraway People of Sidmouth

i was thinking about deportees and refugees, the unknown and unnamed and the next thing i knew i’d written a song about it and i thought this could be a good song.

then i played the song to katie and she said what that song needs is a choir, a host of gospel voices singing out the injustice and giving weight to those weighty words. and it just so happened i had been invited to sing in the beautiful parish church in sidmouth by the sea. and it was the week of song and celebration of song and dance and the stories of the people of the land. and it happened that i was invited to do this concert with the beautiful harpist and singer anna tanvir, who lived in france but said she would jump a plane and she’d borrow a harp from susie to sing the songs with me. the concert was to raise cash for the homeless people of sidmouth. in a town filled with wealth and history, much of it originating from the slave plantations of america, two men had died in recent times from exposure and starvation. the gateway charity had set up a lifeline for these poor folk and we would raise as much as we could to help them bring comfort and aid.

the concert sold out fast, the town being full of folk eager to hear good music and discover new songs and hear new words and exotic harpists and katie’s choir.

so gerry and his band of helpful set out the scones and the wine and the pews and the bonhomie and the queues grew in the gardens. thinking i could raise even more money i took my guitar and banjo out to greet them and i stood on a stone and played then leadbelly’s john hardy and lord franklin and girl from the north country and don’t think twice, and they smiled and were glad of the greeting and filled the gateway bowl.

then we all went inside and had a rare old time singing songs of hardship and joy, of grief and liberation, of good men and bad men and plain outright evil men, and katie’s choir came up to the holy part and opened their mouths and filled the roof and the arched places with their singing and we rattled the windows and rattled the walls with uplifting song.

in the end the folks stood and showed how glad they had been to be there and they smiled and chatted and were friendly and the gateway pot looked good and healthy. And I met gary one of the homeless who had been rescued by gateway and who had come to the church to say thank you to us and tell us how what we were doing would make a difference to his life. we sang my song about the faraway people and lots of people cried, then i knew this was a good song.




Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller