An inspirational Matlock woman has been handed a rare opportunity to be part of a choir which will perform live in front of 80,000 people at the Rugby League Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
Devout Christian Amanda Fentem, 53, of Woolley Road, Matlock, was selected among the 32 winners by BBC’s Songs of Praise after being nominated by her husband Michael, aged 64.
The choir will sing the hymn ‘Abide With Me’ before the Challenge Cup final between Warrington Wolves and Hull FC live on BBC One on Saturday August 27 at the national stadium. Amanda will also appear in a special edition of Songs of Praise broadcast the following day.
“When I found out I was very surprised because I did not know that I had been nominated,” Amanda said.
“It was one of those moments where you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“But it was a lovely surprise and I am very honoured.
“I shall be both very excited and nervous.”
Nominating Amanda, who is a supporter of Dewsbury Rams Rugby Club in West Yorkshire, husband Michael wrote to the BBC explaining why he thought she should be selected.
He wrote: “Every home game and sometimes away, we attend church in the morning at our home town of Matlock before travelling 60 miles to Dewsbury.
“At every home game, Amanda spends the Saturday cooking two sets of cakes for the executive club with no recompense – and often helps serve tea and coffee in the club. She has also voluntarily helped serve meals to the players and officials after the match and she has worked in the club shop. We also sponsor three Dewsbury players.”
He added: “We had no prior association with Dewsbury, having started attending matches after I had preached at Mount Tabor Church and was invited to a match by the club chaplain, Chris Battye.
“Amanda joined me, and we have had season tickets for the last seven years.”
The 32 winners were selected from entries from Ruby League clubs across the UK.
Amanda added: “Dewsbury is a lovely, friendly club. It is very family-orientated.
“I have been to Wembley before and it is only when you get there that you realise what an occasion it is.”
Songs of Praise presenter, Aled Jones will lead the performance.