A FORMER Holmfirth student is part of a choir that brought tears to the nation’s eyes on Saturday night.
Emma Cullingford is a member of the Missing People Choir which received a standing ovation on Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) by judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams for their performance of I Miss You.
Emma, a former Holmfirth High School and Greenhead College student, is a big supporter of the Missing People charity after the tragic death of her mother, Sandra Hall, who went missing in 2013 but was found a month later.
Emma, 33, said she is overwhelmed by the support after the choir’s TV appearance and added: “My mum went missing in 2013 and for that month it was agony.
“Missing People helped in so many ways, helping with posters, liaising with the police, providing us with emotional support. They run a 24 hour helpline and would check in with me once a day. I appreciated it as it can be a lonely time.
“For the one month she was missing it was agony, and it’s strange to say I’m lucky as I got closure. I can’t imagine that feeling of not knowing lasting decades.”
With around 250,000 people reported missing every year, Emma, who works for the Action Against Hunger charity, said the choir hope appearing on BGT raises the Missing People charity’s profile.
Currently online – www.missingpeople.org.uk – it is appealing for help tracing 41 people in Yorkshire including three young people.
“Our goal was to raise awareness of the charity,” Emma added. “The more exposure it gets the better and if it brings someone forward with one bit of information that helps then it’s worth it."
“We filmed it at the end of January and it was an incredible experience.
“I was terrified, I focused on Jim who leads us, so I didn’t look at the judges.
“It was a surreal experience as it felt like I was watching BGT, when we got a standing ovation it was the most incredible experience of my life. I was so overwhelmed I burst into tears for about an hour after.
“The reaction has been amazing, we’re overwhelmed by the response and the support we’ve had.”
The choir’s performance has notched up five million hits on Facebook and the BGT Twitter feed has pinned an appeal for the charity to its Twitter page.
Emma says the choir will re-group ahead of the next round when the judges deliberate which acts should go through to the live shows.
Asked what her mum would make of it, Emma said: “She’d love it. She loved Simon Cowell and she was always encouraging me. She’ll be cheering us on.”
To support Missing People text FIND to 70660 and donate £5 to their Find Every Child Appeal. Britain’s Got Talent is on Saturdays at 8pm on ITV.