Ros Golds was born singing – and has hardly stopped it since.
The 83-year-old soprano has just celebrated 70 years with the church choir at St Andrew and St Cuthman in Steyning.
She was presented with a Royal School of Church Music long-service medal and a wonderful cake, made in the shape of a hymn book, at the church on Sunday and many of her family were there in the pews.
Ros said: “It was a complete surprise. I was in tears.”
She has lived in Steyning all her life and was the first girl in the church choir, having persuaded the vicar to let her have a go at the age of 13.
Ros explained: “I was going to Horsham High School for Girls. We all had brand-new uniform. There were hardly any boys in the choir and I loved to sing.
“I was doing solos and I thought I would love to sing in the church.
“My brother was in the choir and Dad was the verger. I think I was born singing. Our family is very musical.
“I asked if we could just go and sing in the pews in our uniforms, me and two other girls. They didn’t carry on, so I was the first girl in the church choir.”
Ros lived next door to the vicarage until two years ago, when she moved to Penns Court, Steyning, with her husband of 61 years, Les Golds.
She belongs to Steyning Museum, as she knows so much of the history of the town and its people, and volunteers there once a month.
Ros said: “I can’t walk very well and my husband is housebound but people pick me up to get me to church. We rehearse on Fridays and sing at the Sunday morning service.”
Ros has always loved singing and all four of her children, Kevin, Richard, Joanna and Stella, have been in the church choir at some point. She and her youngest, Stella, used to go around entertaining the old folks, too, with Stella on guitar.
Ros was is the youngest of five children. She had three sisters and a brother, Trevor Adcock, a well-known cricketer who died last year.
Ros said: “Mum sent me to have piano lessons but I didn’t take to it. I just wanted to sing. I sang in the Steyning WI choir and we sang at the Albert Hall. I also sang in Worthing Philharmonic Choir.”
Ernie Adcock, Stella’s father, was verger for 30 years and was the first to break the record in the Steyning walking race. He had a nursery in Hillside Terrace and cared for a lot of the big gardens in the town.