Kilmarnock-based choir, the Unlikely Lads are celebrating after singing their way into the hearts of their beloved football team.
The group of men, with an average age 83, have been singing together for the past ten years at CentreStage arts centre, with the choir providing them with a chance to meet friends, socialise and combat loneliness.
It also gives them a chance to belt out some of their favourite hits, including everything from show tunes to Elvis medleys.
However, there is one song in their repertoire which receives more passion and power than most – Paper Roses.
The Marie Osmand song is the Kilmarnock Football Club anthem and a clip of the Unlikely Lads’ rendition recently caused quite a stir on social media.
So much so, the team mascot showed up at their rehearsal on Thursday to invite them to perform during halftime at a forthcoming match.
Much to their delight, Killie manager Derek McInnes sent them a message saying he was “very impressed” and “is hoping to see them perform at Rugby Park very soon”.
Football stardom aside, the Unlikely Lads means much more to the 20 or so men who attend the choir each week.
Hugh Gorman, 75, told STV News: “They’re all beautiful guys and I am just so glad you came down here to do this today because they are wonderful. This is a wonderful thing for the community here. I didn’t realise I could do this and when I sing, it’s really wonderful.”
David Tindal found solace in the Unlikely Lads when his wife died.
“When I lost my wife I joined this group and met great friends. The choir has been a godsend to us all and we all enjoy meeting up every week.”
Alan Agnew, the baby of the group at a fresh-faced 57-years-old, explained: “It brought me out of a rut cause I’ve had health problems these past few years and just to see all these guys with smiles on their faces – it’s brilliant.”
John Cree is one of the founders of the choir and he wants to encourage more people to get involved in activities like the Unlikely Lads.
He said: “Men, when they retire shouldn’t sit in their big chair. They should get out and join in something like this.”
The choir is led by the brilliantly enthusiastic Fiona McKenzie, the founder of CentreStage, who explained that Thursdays simply bring her joy.
“It’s just wonderful. We sit around and sing, talk and laugh. I get so much out of it.”
It’s clear, all the participants do, none more so than 91-year-old dapper William Barclay, who has an inspirational outlook on life.
“I enjoy everything about life. If you want to dance, just dance and don’t drink too much brandy – just a quarter bottle at a time.”
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