Sanders Draper School, Hornchurch, sees ‘signing choir’ meet special former pupil

With Christmas on its way, you won’t have to go far to hear carol singing – but a school choir with a difference have been adding their own unique touch to the tradition.

And the Sanders Draper School “signing choir”, which performs songs in sign language, was reunited with a former pupil during a special concert earlier this month.

The choir, all of whom are learning sign language at the school’s hearing impairment unit, entertained guests at the Havering Senior Citizens’ Christmas party, which was held at Romford YMCA on Friday, December 7.

Among those present was a woman who remembered American pilot Raimond Sanders Draper crashing his aircraft into the school playing field in 1943.

The pilot had taken off from RAF Hornchurch but lost control of the plane. He deliberately steered it into the field to avoid hitting the school – saving many lives but sadly losing his own.

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Ceiri Van Haeften, who works with the sign language pupils, said: “The students were very interested in listening to this remarkable lady reminisce about the tragic event.

“It is a very important part of their school’s history and it was fantastic to meet someone who had been in the school at the time.”

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