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Charity karaoke brings festive cheer to Nidderdale villages

Nidderdale came alive with the sound of karaoke on Christmas Eve as a mobile karaoke van travelled from village to village raising vital funds for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Live music fan Jason Dobson donned a Santa suit and teamed up with family and friends to provide socially distanced festive karaoke sessions in memory of his mother-in-law, Elaine Fox.

Elaine was a popular singer on the local pub and club scene, with a huge passion for music. She was a dedicated supporter of Yorkshire Cancer Research before she passed away from cancer in 2018.

Jason Dobson is holding karaoke sessions in tribute to his mother-in-law Elaine, who is pictured with her daughter, Rachael.

Jason, his wife Rachael and their children Seth, 9, and Lauren, 7, were joined by guest singers at 30-minute sessions in Darley, Dacre Banks, Glasshouses and Pateley Bridge.

The event was held in line with Covid-19 regulations, which allowed live outdoor events with capacity limits and social distancing to take place in Tier 2 areas.

Jason said: “It was exciting because I didn’t know what to expect; if anybody would come given the situation with coronavirus. But it turned out to be thoroughly enjoyable for us, and everyone who came along seemed to really enjoy it too. People hadn’t been able to enjoy live music for a long time and they had missed the opportunity to sing Christmas carols.”

The evening was made even more special when Lauren performed her own a cappella version of ‘Little Donkey’, accompanied by beatboxing from Seth. Lauren had learned the song, among other carols, while playing the role of Mary in her school nativity, but her parents had been unable to see the performance in person due to coronavirus restrictions.

Jason said: “It was a proud moment for us. They were very shy about performing for a crowd, so it was very special to see the smiles on their faces as everybody cheered.”

Jason first began fundraising by holding virtual charity karaoke events during the first coronavirus lockdown. His ‘Vanaoke’ events quickly became a success, featuring lots of singers from around the Harrogate and Nidderdale area.

Jason collected £265 in donations for Yorkshire Cancer Research on Christmas Eve, in addition to a further £520 raised online throughout 2020.

He added: “We just want to say thank you to everybody who helped out and came down to support us. One collection tin we had wasn’t big enough to hold all the donations we received. People were so generous. I’m just really pleased that the night was a success. It was nice to do something as a family on Christmas Eve, remember Elaine and raise funds for a good cause too.”

To support Jason’s fundraising, visit his JustGiving page. Visit his Facebook page to keep up to date with Jason’s future events.