Posted on 25th November 2015
Susan won’t sing her praises… but we will!
Forty-five years after organizing her first benefit concert at the tender age of 13, Lea Graham Associate’s MD Susan Fleet has been recognized for a remarkable singing career that’s raised not just the roof but also a small fortune for charity.
Note for note, Susan has generated hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes large and small by setting an astonishing record.
Since 1970, she’s persuaded friends and fellow singers to join her for four fundraisers every year. From draughty English village churches to the gothic splendour of Cologne Cathedral and London’s internationally renowned Queen Elizabeth Hall, she’s sung them all.
Now, the Mid-Sussex soprano has been named the Bright FM Fundraiser of the Year 2015 at an awards ceremony that celebrates some of the region’s most gifted, generous and genuine individuals.
The announcement followed Susan’s latest concert, A Night of 100 Voices, staged at the King’s Centre in Burgess Hill, not far from her first event at St Andrew’s Church Hall in September 1970.
“I only did it because they wouldn’t let me into the St Andrew’s choir on account of the fact that I was a girl!” says Susan. “The vicar took pity on me, I suppose, and agreed I could use the church hall instead to stage my own event and as a thank you, I gave the proceeds to charity. That’s how it all started.
“The concert featured myself, my two brothers and a few experienced adult singers to help us out – I’m embarrassed to recall it now!”
The Night of 100 Voices featured friends from the professional and amateur music scene, who gave their time for free. Headline performers included Andrew Rees, principal tenor at the Royal Opera House, West End musical theatre actor Duncan Allan and rising stars, sisters Laura and Emily Loutit.
Held in memory of her friend and fellow local singer Rick Peckham, it raised considerably more than the teenage Susan would ever have thought possible . By the end of the night £8,000 had gone to the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s East Sussex Branch.
“It was a pretty humbling moment to receive the Bright FM award,” says Susan, “especially knowing I couldn’t have achieved it without wonderful friends, who have supported me with their voices over the years.
“I’m not ready to give up yet, though – there are still a good few concerts left in me!”
Sue Scott – 01444 235475/01759 305894
"“I have belonged to this group since I started my own business, Lea Graham Associates, in 1986. The association has been through several incarnations since then, but its most recent one, BHBPA, is by far the best.
It’s much more than just a networking group, although it is supremely good at that too. BHBPA is inclusive and friendly and acts like a mutual-support society. The events are stimulating, worthwhile and often great fun and I believe most members share this opinion.”"
"The BHBPA is a fantastic hub for our business community to get together and catch up, discuss important local issues and connect new and interesting enterprises."
"“Sutton Winson have been members of the BHBPA for around 7 years. We have found it a great way to keep in touch with Burgess Hill businesses and to meet with likeminded people. It’s not just another “networking” group, as it tackles the real issues and gets things done”"
"As the local hospice for the area, it’s great that we receive so much support from the BHBPA. Last year the members raised an amazing £2150 through activities such as Bake Off and the BHBiz Awards. Each well planned members meeting enables good networking opportunities and speakers that are relevant to the present climate and local issues. We are proud to be members of BHBPA."