The Loneliest Jukebox

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Friday, April 06, 2018

Remembering My Aunt

My Aunt, Julia Allton, who died suddenly in 2016, was an accomplished singer, a tireless sports campaigner and contributor to numerous charities.

After teacher-training at Nonington P.E. College in Kent in 1968, she completed her probationary year at a Leicester school. Her first love was music and, unsatisfied by teaching, she applied to the Royal College of Music and was awarded a full-time place on the Opera Studies course. With no scholarship, she funded herself through early-morning cleaning, evening bar work and a Saturday job in Harrods. Subsequent financial help from the Vaughan Williams Trust and the Young Musicians Trust helped her to complete two years at the RCM.

After gaining further experience singing in concert halls and churches throughout the country, she made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1977, singing in the chorus of Aida. She acquired her Equity card and joined the entertainment industry, performing in pantomimes, music halls, local clubs and as a Blue Coat entertainer for Ladbroke’s holiday group.

In 1981, she was appointed Senior Lecturer for ILEA, specialising in PE. This led to her work with people with a disability. Based in Tower Hamlets, where she was voted ‘1982 Sports Personality of the Year’, she was a Council Member for the National Society for Epilepsy. She also worked with the Disabled Living Foundation, with Mencap and was on the Executive Committee of Docklands Boat Trust, an organisation which fund-raised to buy a fully wheel-chair accessible canal boat. Working with wheelchair athletes led Julia to campaign for their inclusion in the London Marathon, completing it herself to celebrate her 50th birthday. Alongside this, she studied with the Open University to gain her BA.

Moving to Skegness to be near to her parents, she opened her home for holidays for the disabled and offered assisted living for permanent residents. Other ‘residents’ over the years were cats and dogs, especially Gordon Setters, which she rehomed. She was a volunteer hospital driver and locally she supported the RNLI, the Day Centre, Natureland, and St. Barnabus Hospice, among other organisations, and gave much of her time to Skegness Methodist Church.


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