Laurence, 99, still in fine voice

Laurence Kermode, aged 99, with his award

Laurence Kermode, aged 99, with his award

Have your say

Laurence Kermode has revealed the secret of his success in The Guild after winning a class at the tender age of 99.

Laurence, of Douglas, who became the oldest ever class winner when he got the highest score in the Works of T. E. Brown class, has revealed he completes breathing exercises every morning when he gets out of bed.

‘It’s all in the breathing,’ he told iomtoday.

Laurence said he was fortunate to have a very good speaking voice, and in fact he was praised for the clarity of his voice in a newspaper review of a play he was in as an 11-year-old Scout.

Laurence first took part in the Manx Music Festival with his Sunday school in the Action Songs class when he was about six.

But it wasn’t until the choirmaster at St Ninian’s Church, Harry Pickard, invited him to join the choir and asked him if he wanted to compete that he entered a solo class.

‘I went in the open tenor class and won it the first year I was in,’ said Laurence.

He sang regularly in the Guild for many years before falling away from it.

Laurence, a retired printer for the Isle of Man Times and Isle of Man Examiner, performed at venues around the island. He spent a season singing at Groudle Glen with a four-piece string orchestra, and was also a professional toast master for 50 years.

This year, Laurence also sang Seeds of Love in the Folk Song class.

When asked if he planned to compete next year, he said: ‘It depends how I feel.’

Back to the top of the page