Lesley Garrett is a household name when it comes to opera, having built an extensive career stretching over four decades. She is largely known for her work with ENO as a Principal Soprano, as well as roles with the ROH, Glyndebourne, Opera North and WNO, which has earned her significant critical acclaim and recognition from music lovers world-wide.
Lesley’s talent and broad appeal has also made her successful as a recording artist. Over the years she has been granted many awards, including a Gramaphone Award for “Best-selling Classical Artist of the Year”, as well as multiple silver and gold disc awards. Additionally, she was a featured artist on the platinum selling Perfect Day single released by the BBC in aid of Children in Need.
Musical theatre is another world where Lesley has made her mark, having been part of many well-known productions including The Merry Widow, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and Carousel. As a result of her exceptional contribution towards music across the industry, Lesley was appointed a CBE. She was also made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM), a prestigious and honorary award that recognises those who have had a significant impact over the music profession or the academy itself.
There’s a good chance you may have spotted Lesley on some of her many iconic television appearances as well. A few of these include Lesley Garrett…Tonight, The Lesley Garrett Show, Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity MasterChef.
As for Lesley’s family life, she is married to a GP named Peter Christian and has two children. The youngest, 26-year-old Chloe, has pursued a creative pathway, having become a theatre director, and 27-year-old Jeremy is a software designer.
Lesley’s history with The Hospital Saturday Fund dates back more than a decade, ever since she was invited as a special guest to sing at one of our functions. During this period she and her nephews Ben and Tim Colwill, had been working with BLISS, a charity specialising in helping premature babies. She was due to perform at a fundraising event her nephews were running in the Lake District that week.
Around the same time Lesley met our charity team, our Annual Grant Making Meeting (AGM) event was also on the horizon. With no recipient for the £10,000 grant yet determined, our Chief Executive and Chairman decided to recommend to the Grant Making Committee that HSF award the amount to BLISS. When the event in May arrived Tim and Ellen (Lesley’s nephew and his wife) represented the charity and were key presenters on the night.
From this point, The Hospital Saturday Fund’s relationship with Lesley continued to flourish. With the news that Her Majesty the Queen was due to retire from being our charity Patron, Lesley was undoubtedly the right person to take over the role. It was very soon after this time that the iconic Doncaster Diva delighted us by joining the HSF family.
Lesley still speaks of how she loves her connection with HSF to this day, saying that she wishes there were more companies that use their profits towards supporting charities as we do. She also appreciates our efforts towards understanding the charities we provide grants to, mentioning that she admires how involved and organic our relationships are, especially when it comes to visiting them at their sites.
Lesley’s role within the HSF team is quite varied. She is a frequent attendee at charity events such as our AGMs, and even cheque presentations, where she recently visited a Leonard Cheshire Home with our Chief Executive, Paul Jackson. As well as this, Lesley also makes suggestions about charities the HSF might like to consider making grants to. Recently, based on her recommendation, a grant was provided to Help Musicians and their Music Minds Matter programme.
To learn more about Lesley Garrett and her work, please visit https://www.lesleygarrett.co.uk/index.php