Classical night for local singer

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A FORMER Arbroath lady who found fame with the Military Wives Choir is now an award winner after the group scooped a Classical Brit award.

Maria Dudley, formerly Archer, who grew up in the town but now lives at RMB Chivenor in Devon was part of the singing group, which was set up by television choirmaster Gareth Malone.

They stormed the charts last year clinching the Christmas number one slot with their single ‘Wherever You Are’.

And last Tuesday, Maria was chosen to be a guest of Gareth at the Classical Brits at the Royal Albert Hall where ‘Wherever You Are’ won best single.

She had the opportunity to sit with Gareth and song composer Paul Meallor during the ceremony and went up to receive the award when it was announced they had won.

Not only that, but she also got to perform ‘Sing’, the song written for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee along with the other ladies and Take That star Gary Barlow.

And Maria told the Herald she can’t believe the sort of year she has had.

The mum of two said: “This time last year we were still rehearsing ready for our performance at the Festival of Remembrance, and we thought we would do that and that would be it.

“But the Classical Brits last Tuesday was just crazy and I kept thinking what am I doing here?

“I got to walk down the red carpet with Gareth and all of the photographers were calling his name. It was just a surreal experience.

“When they called our category I had a good feeling about winning and when they called our name the whole audience just cheered and it was amazing.”

Maria was born in Arbroath but grew up in England before returning to the town, where she worked in Specsavers in the Abbeygate.

She met her husband Corporal Chris Dudley, while he was serving with 45 Commando at RM Condor and they lived on Falkland Drive but they are now based in Devon with their two daughters Lauren and Laila.