North Wales ‘Sofa Singers’ founder wins PM award for virtual lockdown choir


A music teacher from North Wales who set up a global online choir to lift people’s spirits through isolation will today receive Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Point of Light award.

James Sills created ‘The Sofa Singers’ after seeing images of people singing on balconies in Italy and realising the power of music to bring people together while they have to be socially distant. Over 7000 people from over 50 countries have joined his twice weekly singing groups since they began in March.

In a personal letter to James, the Prime Minister said:

I want to thank you for the brilliant way you have used your gift for music to bring people together from the safety of their sofas.

One of the great hardships in staying at home has been a loss of social contact with others. But your wonderful chorus has helped many to overcome that sense of isolation, while playing their part in the vital mission to protect our NHS and save lives.

Inspired by the spontaneous creativity of the balcony singers in Italy, you have curated a magical moment each week that has seen hundreds of people around the world sit apart, yet sing together as one.

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s announcement, James said:

It is a real honour to receive this award and I would like to dedicate it to the thousands of Sofa Singers around the world. It’s wonderful to hear how the sessions are helping people to feel more connected and positive at this difficult time. Life is better when we’re singing together!

The Prime Minister’s UK daily Point of Light award was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live. James is the 1364th person to be recognised. As Britain unites to fight the spread of coronavirus, the award is focusing exclusively on people serving their community through the pandemic.

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