Almost a decade after winning BBC Radio 2’s Chorister of the Year Award, 25-year-old Laura Wright is a leading figure for the fusion of music and sport and is a regular at major sporting events, including the Rugby World Cup 2015. In support of our Homeless at Christmas Appeal, Laura has taken time out to share her reflections on the year and give us a message of hope for children who will be having a particularly hard time this Christmas.
What is it about Christmas that makes you feel happiest?
Spending time with my family and the smell of mulled wine, cloves, incense and a log fire. The warmth that Christmas has, always brings a smile to my face. Being surrounded by my family makes me feel safe and relaxed, it is a time for giving and a time for caring.
What one news story from 2015 has had the biggest effect on you?
The refugee crisis sticks in my mind: I think it affected and continues to affect so many people. The shock of seeing parents trying to protect their children in such great numbers saddened me deeply. Seeing children in such a vulnerable state, of course, causes you to reflect inwards and on your own life. It made me feel compelled to try and help, and it also made me feel incredibly grateful for what I have. If we are under no threat, we take no notice of what living without safety would be like. I think the refugee crisis has caused everyone to re-evaluate, and I hope changes like these continue to happen.
What are the things you worry about most?
I worry about a lot of things! Being in my twenties and living in London is a challenge and can be exhausting at times, but I am so grateful to have the job that I have which is rich with experiences, people and places. I also worry about big questions like "When should I have a family?" and "Will I be able to provide for them like my parents did for me?". I think it's important to take small steps in life, little by little gathering experience as you go.
What do you hope 2016 brings?
I hope to continue my performances at sporting events throughout the year, I am also taking part as an artist on the Young Voices Tour. This is a series of concerts in arenas around the country that aims to get younger children into different kind of music and experience what it's like to perform in front of thousands of people! I'm also in my tenth year as a signed artist with Decca Records, so I hope to keep recording great classical and contemporary music.
What message would you give to children facing serious hardship right now?
Hope is an incredibly powerful thing. One of my favourite quotes is: "When the world says give up, hope whispers - try it one more time".
Hope gives us a reason to keep going, a reason to believe in what might seem impossible. If I could give a message to children who are facing terrible hardship around the world, it would be: Please keep yourselves safe, confide in people who you trust, and remember no one should suffer alone.
This Christmas there are millions of children around the world who will be homeless, who won't feel safe, and who won't have their loved ones around them, due to war, fighting and natural disasters. Our Christmas appeal is focussed on children, giving them whatever they need - be it food, shelter, or medicine - to keep them warm and safe. As Laura says, the wonderful thing about Christmas is that it is a time for caring, and a time for giving. Please join Laura in giving to our appeal so that we can help protect the most vulnerable children and give them a better future.
Photo credits: Laura Wright/ActionAid