CHORAL Constables? Yes there may be a few.

But Essex Police Choir is not just for bobbies belting out the bass or sergeants singing in soprano.

The choir has been around for 30 years and although started for only serving police officers, is now open to anyone who thinks they can hold a tune.

That includes Tony Willson, the managing director of a health and safety company, who in recent years has also become the choir’s publicity officer.

He said: “The Essex Police Choir came to do singing in our village hall in Layer-de-la-Haye and our son happened to be a serving police officer at the time. “My wife joined the choir and having been a follower for several years, I joined.”

Mr Willson, 76, explained what attracted him those eight years ago.

“It was the fun they were having singing. We sing songs from the shows and popular numbers and I am not a lover of choral music.”

He added: “ I didn’t rate myself as a singer but I knew I could hold a tune - that’s the essence of it.

“That’s what we are looking for if anyone is looking to join. We let people come along for a few weeks for rehearsals and in that time decide if they want to join or not, then they have a ‘voice test’.

“We do singing in four parts - tenor, bass, alto and soprano - and it is to make sure they are singing in the right part and fit in with the rest of the choir.”

Mr Willson and his choir clearly pride themselves on how they sound - not surprising given they performed with a mass of police choirs at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2019, to high-profile police figures.

“It was a privilege for everyone at the time. When you have got 5,000 people all holding little blue flashing lights and singing ‘Dance of a Thousand Lights’, it was quite amazing.

“We are bl**dy good! We are put through our paces,” he added, summing up the choir ethos as “conscientious” about the standard of its performances.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Memory - The Essex Police Choir perform in Boreham in 1989, in their first concert

It practises a repertoire for its concerts - the first set to take place this Christmas.

And it will be particularly special as it will be the first time the choir has been able to perform to a live audience since Christmas 2019, due to Coronovirus restrictions.

However, the choir plans to hold a full programme of concerts in 2022, usually hosting about eight a year to raise money for good causes.

Mr Willson added: “Covid seems to have boosted choir membership and the choir has been very pleased to welcome some potential members and is still happy to have more.

“Anyone can join, as long as they are happy to represent the Police service in general and Essex Police in particular.”

The choir was founded by Norman Eastbrook MBE when he was asked by two police officers if he would form a choir.

Mr Eastbrook is head of Essex Police Headquarters’ Photographic Imaging Department. He is the choir’s musical director.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Powerful - The Essex Police Choir perform at Chelmsford with the Band of the Parachute Regiment, St Botolphs, Colchester

Mr Willson said for the first few years, members were only permitted to be serving officers or staff but then the choir broadened to include relatives and friends and “anyone happy to support the ethos of police services”.

He continued: “In the 30 years we have performed at just over 300 concerts and we have raised in excess of £350,000 for good causes.

“We run two concerts a year that raise money for our nominated charities and these are local.”

Today the choir comprises nearly 40 members aged from their twenties to their eighties and meets at Police Headquarters Chelmsford, on Tuesdays, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Summing up the essence of the choir, Mr Willson added: “I think it is the fact we can enjoy ourselves at the same time as raising money for good causes.”

Mr Willson added the choir is supported by Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington, who allows the space for rehearsals to take place.

The Christmas concert will be at Christchurch, New London Road, Chelmsford, at 7.30pm on Saturday December 11.

Tickets are £10 and can be ordered via

For information about joining the choir, go to and complete the contact form, or call 07802 414793.