Margaret Duckworth was introduced to the hospice movement over 40 years ago by international concert pianist Vincent Billington, who had adopted it as his own charity. He first invited her to sing at a charity concert in Scarborough, but this continued for many years when she went to sing at the Spa Summer Concerts in Scarborough, back in the days of Max Jaffa and subsequently Vincent Billington.
Later, Margaret adopted the local hospice movement as her own charity. St. Luke’s in Sheffield was her local hospice and she dedicated all her charity fundraising to them. For many years, many of these concerts were performed at Wentworth Woodhouse, transferring to Wath Comprehensive School when the former became unavailable. She also made a recording in 1983 with Vincent Billington, where again all the profits went to St. Luke’s Hospice. She was made an honorary life member of St. Luke’s for all her charity work.
When the concerts began over 30 years ago they included other celebrities, but were joined shortly after by her newly formed ladies’ choir “The Govannon Singers”. Gradually over the years her own singing has reduced, while approximately 15 years ago the “Govannon Singers” became “The Margaret Duckworth Singers”, with the introduction of male voices to make a mixed choir. Now all her fund raising is done in an organising capacity with her choir.
After the creation of the Rotherham Hospice, all of her own charity fund raising was transferred to that cause. Dr. Frank Neal recently announced that the annual Christmas Concerts have raised over £37,000 for Rotherham Hospice in 11 years.
Margaret and the choir sing at many local charity and Church events in the locality but occasionally are asked to perform at events further afield. Choir records show that up to a few years ago, total monies raised for charity had reached over £200,000.