The voice enlisted at rugby international
to tackle loudspeaker ban on anthems

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A RUGBY club yesterday delivered a pitch perfect version of the National Anthem to score a victory over a council ban on playing it over its loudspeaker system.

Scarborough Rugby Club feared it would end up a “laughing stock” when it hosted an international match by not being allowed to play God Save The Queen.

Scarborough councillors imposed a ban on playing tunes or jingles over the PA system two years ago because of fears it would annoy residents.

It was feared the restrictions would prevent the playing of both the National Anthem and Irish Rugby Anthem at yesterday’s match between England Colleges and Irish Exiles.

Following a national outcry, Scarborough Council said it wanted to make an exception but the bureaucratic process would not allow it.

Officials therefore suggested that the club play the song on the understanding the town hall would take no enforcement action.

But the club said “no” because it would still have been a beach of the planning regulations and the club did not want to blot its copy book so close to a public inquiry into the noise row being held in June.

However, with just 48 hours to go before the game, club bosses discovered a legal loophole.

While the council red tape restricted the use of the PA system to making match announcements and prohibited amplified music there was nothing in the small print to stop a singer performing the song “a cappella” – as in church, without instrumental accompaniment.

The club recruited singer Laura Welburn, who had never sung without backing music before, and had less than a day to learn how to do it.

Yesterday, she delivered a faultless performance of both anthems while standing on a podium on the pitch in between the two teams.

Miss Welburn, 25, of Cloughton, near Scarborough, was delighted when hundreds of spectators joined in the singing of both anthems. She said: “It went very well. I’ve never sung ‘a cappella’ before. I was asked to do it two days ago so I only had about a day to practice.”

Chief executive Graeme Young said: “Laura sung both anthems superbly. I am just really happy all the young people playing here today got to sing along to their respective anthems.

“This is a sensible outcome to what has been a difficult week for the club.”

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