WHEN snowboarder Mikey Lewin died in an avalanche three years ago, his family made an unspoken pact to live life to the full – just as their adventurous son did in his 23 years.
So when his mum Ros, of Guilden Sutton, heard about one-day singing workshops by A Handbag of Harmonies a few months later, she signed up.
Since becoming a fully-fledged member last June she has performed with the choir across the country, appeared on the Richard and Judy Show and the BBC’s Last Choir Standing talent show.
This weekend the choir is travelling to London to compete against four other choirs for two places in the final six of the TV talent search, judged by Russell Watson, Sharon D Clarke and Suzi Digby.
Ros said: “I had always enjoyed singing and it is very therapeutic – even if you have had a bad day at work you make yourself go to rehearsals because you feel on a high when you come out. Perhaps it gives you an endorphin rush like exercise.
“That is what really appealed to me about the Handbags – it is great fun and everyone is so friendly. You leave normal life behind and forget about things for a few hours when you are singing.”
Mikey died in the French Alps near Les Arcs in January 2005 where he was working his fifth ski season and spent his summers windsurfing in Greece.
The family faced crisis again a year later, when Ros’s husband Brian was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.
Ros said: “Losing a child is not something you ever get over, but life must go on and Mikey was the sort of person who would have said get on with it, do everything you can.
“He was a very positive person and his death spurred on a lot of people to change their lives and try different things.
Ros thinks her son would have found the idea of his mum performing on reality TV “brilliant” and says many of his friends are watching the show.
She added: “It has been so much fun to take part in, but whether we win or lose we will smile because we enjoy what we do so much, and we will still carry on as a choir.”
This Saturday’s Last Choir Standing, on BBC 1 at 6.25pm features the first of three groups of choirs competing for a place in the final six. A Handbag of Harmonies’ group will be filmed this week and shown on August 2.