Concert featuring world famous brass band raises £20,000 in memory of devoted Burnley teacher

Paula Helm, who died five years ago at the age of 49, on her wedding day to her husband Graham with her daughter Chloe and son Laurence.
Paula Helm, who died five years ago at the age of 49, on her wedding day to her husband Graham with her daughter Chloe and son Laurence.

A concert, featuring one of the world's most famous brass bands, has raised a staggering £20,000 in memory of a devoted  Burnley teacher and mum who tragically died five years ago at the age of 49.

The concert, which was headlined by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band who had a number one hit with the Floral Dance in 1977, was organised by Graham Helm and held at the prestigious Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

The grand spectacle of the concert that raised 20,000 for the East Lancashire Hospice

The grand spectacle of the concert that raised 20,000 for the East Lancashire Hospice

Graham wanted to do something to help raise cash for the East Lancashire Hospice where his wife Paula was cared for before her death from pancreatic cancer.

Paula taught at St Mary's RC Primary School in Burnley for almost 30 years working her way up to becoming assistant headteacher and her work as RE co-ordinator attracted praise from Ofsted inspectors.

A former pupil of St Mary's and also the former St Hilda's RC Girls School and St Theodore's sixth form, Paula also loved her music and ran the school choir for many years, taking pupils to perform in concerts and competitions, and in care homes.

Passionate about brass bands, Graham has been director of the Second Rossendale Scout Group Band for 19 years which also featured in the concert along with the Rossendale Male Voice Choir

The show, sponsored by The Cardboard Box Company, was a triumph with 1,300 people in the audience, the largest number for a brass band concert at the hall.

One of the pieces performed by Graham's band called Lamplighter was composed by himself and Dan Price. Based on three poems it was chosen specially by Graham as he explained how he felt when Paula died at the hospice.

Special guests, the East Lancashire Hospice choir, which is made up of patients, volunteers and family members joined in with the 12 minute long piece.

And by special arrangement the choir was invited to take part in the grand finale of the concert which was a performance of the Floral Dance.

Sharon Crymble who is the Income Generation Manager for the hospice, said: “Graham has been a fantastic supporter of the hospice, and I know how much it means to him.

"To make sure others can receive the same care if needed that his wife Paula received, he works tirelessly to raise money and to get the message out about the hospice.

"He organises and attends gala dinners, brings his band into the hospice every Christmas for the patients to enjoy and gives talks about why it is important to know about the hospice and also to support it.’

‘I would also like to thank Matthew Thomas from the Rossendale Scout Group Band as he came to the hospice over a number of weeks to coach our patients, volunteers and family members who had the unforgettable experience of singing on the stage at such a magnificent venue."

Paula, had two children, a son Laurence and daughter Chloe.

Chloe has taken part in a series of marathons to raise thousands of pounds for research into pancreatic cancer.