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Unexpected end to Rainbow Voices Concert 2005


Lesley is a member of , Birmingham’s LGBT choir, and was co-ordinator from 2003 until 2006.

“Our tenth anniversary concert, at the , was memorable for more than our marvellous performance!! Moments after the rousing applause died down, and the audience was starting to leave, while choir members were clearing the stage, the fire alarm rang, and kept on ringing.

One of our volunteers, Jack, was acting as steward and got us all out the building down the fire escape and onto the pavement. After a lot of hanging about outside the police arrived and told us there was a bomb scare, and the city centre was being evacuated.

Coming just two days after the London bombings, now known as 7:7, we all took this very seriously. We weren’t allowed back in to the theatre to get our coats, car keys, bags and the like. We had to walk right out of town, on the Bristol Road. Julie’s dad had won a big tin of sweets in the raffle so he dished them out as we walked along, and another choir member dived into an off-licence and came out with a bag of cans of beer which we passed around as we walked. There was a sort of Dunkirk spirit everyone helping each other, especially as some of us had quite elderly relatives with us. As we walked, more and more people coming out of town joined in the procession. It was really orderly, no panicking, nor messing about or complaining. I guess everyone found their way home somehow or other eventually!.”

Contributed by: Lesley Pattenson, 55

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