Chair of Rainbow Chorus receives ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at Golden Handbag Award Ceremony

For the first time this year I asked LGBT+ groups and organisations to nominate someone who they felt deserved a special recognition at the Golden Handbags 2017.

I was personally thrilled to present Finola Brophy with a Gscene Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to equality and LGBT+ people in the city.

Over the 21 years I have been editing Gscene I have learnt to work out who are the wannabees and takers in this community. Finola is 100% pure gold, 100% reliable and a formidable ally to have in your corner.

We are lucky in Brighton and Hove to have not one but six LGBT+ choirs. It is a huge undertaking to chair any of these organisations and keep everyone happy. I take my hat off to every chair who takes this responsibility on.

Members of the Rainbow Chorus lobbied hard to have the achievements of their chair Finola Brophy recognised by the LGBT+ communities of Brighton & Hove at this year’s Golden Handbag Awards.

As well as chairing the Rainbow Chorus, Finola is active in Older & Out and sits on the committee of Working Together the LGBT Small Groups network.

She has been involved in LGBT+ community development work over many years and understands the nuances of successfully tackling the problems encountered by LGBT+ organisations as they develop.

Here are the citations received that helped us come to the decision to award a Life Time Achievement award to Finola Brophy for her services to all LGBT+ communities in the City.

“Finola had an immediate positive impact on me. On a personal level she welcomed me to the Rainbow Chorus with genuine warmth and affection, and frequently checked-in with me to make sure I felt comfortable and accepted. For me she is the definitive individual who symbolises community. She is embracing, non-judgemental, compassionate and generous. On a professional level she willingly provides support and information where she can. When I told her about my work with LGBT+ refugees she immediately related it to her own contacts and experience and enthusiastically helped me network and connect with other relevant LGBT+ organisations. She is beyond worthy of this award, and is a true role model for all who seek to offer solidarity.” Matthew Beetar, University of Sussex

I have only known Finola for two and a half years and in that time I have been amazed by the drive and passion she has to support any LGBT+ event, group or individual as well as finding time for the usual daily grind and supporting her family in Watford for 2 days every week looking after her grandchild. She will always give of herself to help others and to further any LGBT+ cause. Testament to this is how well-known Fin is within the community; when she attends any event it is difficult to get to talk to her because everyone else at the event is also trying to talk to her! I have felt well supported by Fin’s love and compassion during some very difficult times and I can think of no-one better to receive a Community Award at the Golden Handbag Awards.” Ed Borgars, Rainbow Chorus (RC)

I’ve known Finola for a relatively short time but the positive impact she has had on me and on others is astonishing. She is one of the most generous-hearted and warm people you are ever likely to meet. She’s constantly working for the greater good in our community and her commitment and dedication is selfless to the point of setting aside her own needs. I am honoured to be able to call her a friend.” Julie Benger RC

“Just like to say Finola is very welcoming to all choir members. Gives support and reassuring guidance and makes the sessions happy and upbeat, always smiling and understanding to us, a genuinely inspiring woman.” John from RC+

What a woman Fin is. … She has the energy of a dozen of us, Gives absolutely everything you could imagine, again for others. Finola has been the chair for RC & RC+, for over 4 years to my knowledge. She has knowledge that includes all of us whenever we have a birthday or if we are going to have an operation, or something special is happening in our life.” Pat Nunn

I’ve not known Fin long but she couldn’t have been more warm, welcoming and supportive when I was involved with RC drum workshops recently. A wonderful woman doing wonderful things in our community.” Ruth Summers

Finola helped support the choir getting involved in my show ‘Big Girls Blouse’ when it was on in Brighton… a true trans ally and big supporter of the work I do to raise trans visability… attending events advertising them and generally encouraging the work I do as an out trans artist. She deserves this awkward and many others for all the love she brings to everything she does.” Kate O Donnell 

“Finola Brophy – is an amazing woman with a wonderful community spirit. She gives hours of her time to making sure everyone is thought about, cared for and included. What a fantastic asset to the LGBT+ community she is…. nothing is too much trouble and she approaches every challenge with a smile and a zest for life which often leaves the rest of us breathless!” Caroline Pearce 

Finola Brophy is a superwoman and an inspiration!  She gets involved with the community and not only raises awareness but also funds for vital organisations in our community. She goes the extra mile on everything she sets her mind to. Makes everyone feel welcome and part of the big LGBT+ family. Her support and care make us continue fighting for those issues that matter. She is the engine that keeps us going. I can not think of anyone more deserving than Finola. The LGBT+ community is more than Proud for Finola’s work in the community.” Marina Llamas-Barco

“I can’t think of anyone who should get this award more than Finola. As chair of the Rainbow Chorus and in the wider community, Finola, speaks out against injustice and discrimination.  Finola is a strong and loving ally of the trans community and as a newcomer to Brighton LGBT community I have found her to be such a rock – she is amazing.” Taylor Blue, RC

“Fin is a tireless worker in the voluntary sector of the LGBT+ Communities, not only as Chair of the Rainbow Chorus, but as a committee member for Older & Out too.  She is an amazing person as she always finds the time to speak to everyone and remembers who they are, a rare quality these days.  Fin works hard and spends a lot of time encouraging and organising choir members as well as welcoming guests and dignitaries to the Rainbow Chorus.  With the work she puts into the LGBT+ Communities, she well deserves being nominated for a Community Award.” Jenny Bennett, Older and Out

Finola deserves this award because she is always thinking of the choir, but with a forethought that means we are always making the most of every situation or opportunity. She often juggles many demands in her head, be it technical, financial, or logistical, and she leads the choir with a clear vision. Finola dedicates not only time, but herself to meet the demands of the Rainbow Chorus.” Kate Whitmill

During my mayoral year I came to appreciate the reach of Finola’s hard work to strengthen relations across the LGBT+ community and beyond. As Chair, Finola has ensured the Rainbow Chorus takes a pivotal role in promoting and supporting our LGBT+ communities. The Chorus are often chosen to perform at key community events such as IDAHOBIT and Trans Remembrance. The increasingly dynamic and inclusive approach, which Finola has steered, wins the Rainbow Chorus growing respect and financial support. Bravo Finola you are a great ambassador for our city in all its wonderful diversity. Councillor Pete West, Brighton & Hove City Council.” Cllr Pete West (Mayor, Brighton & Hove 2016-17)

“Finola is a lovely woman who works hard, tirelessly and lovingly for the LGBT+ communities. She is supportive, determined and inspirational. She does not seek recognition for herself and I would be delighted to see her immense contribution celebrated with a special award.”  Brenda Willis RC committee member 2015-2017

“Finola inspires us to think beyond ourselves and the choir to LGBT+, personal and political issues of discrimination and persecution at home, and around the world. Thus the Rainbow Chorus actively supports Transpride, IDAHOBIT, and raises awareness by singing at diverse venues such as Worthing Library, a concert to Members of the Brighton Museum and Gallery, and Europride in Amsterdam. We support other charities in their fundraising by choosing designated charities that we fund each year. Alongside Musical Director Aneesa Chaudhry, Finola enthuses us to sing our best, supports us when we are ill, and holds the choir together to improve and excel. And finally, Finola’s generosity of spirit shines through to all those she meets. She is an outstanding woman in all walks of life.” Penny Lloyd, RC

Finola is a rare breed: a woman who puts aside personal needs for the greater good.  In Finola’s case, she has fought on the side of many a good cause from Greenham, Women’s Rights, LGBT Rights to all-encompassing Human Rights.  Her fire and enthusiasm manifests itself in everything she does and her manner and presence achieves a slow, but wide wake, into which others fall willingly. Now a member of Older and Out, her arc of interest and activities spans all ages and all people regardless of any aspect of their background or lives.  She is a force for good, an excellent example of genuine altruism and finely tuned fairness in action.  Her efforts and achievements have made many people’s lives that much smoother. In a time when stress and anxiety is on the rise, Finola is a non-pharmaceutical remedy for a calmer response, a gathering of community and a loving approach.” Jane Wrin

I’d like to add my voice in support of the nomination of Finola Brophy as “Golden Woman”.  I have only known Finola for a few years but have had the pleasure of working closely with her both as a member of the fifth section of the Rainbow Chorus and as part of the group which organised the Hand in Hand event in Brighton in 2015. She is a tireless and eloquent worker on behalf of the LGBT+ communities and is genuinely caring and supportive in good times and in bad. She is a warm and gregarious person with a vast network of contacts and friends who love and respect her and the enormous amount of work that she undertakes. She truly deserves this nomination.” June Maxwell

“I haven’t met another woman in the LGBT+ communities who; listens, understands, looks after and looks out for people the way I have seen Fionola does. Finola’s sixth sense of empathy/awareness (Empareness) and her focus on achieving goals that are actually achievable are worthy of noting because all of her actions result in the community feeling encouraged, supported recognised and determined to carry out what they do in a vibrant, safe and fun community. A well deserving nominee for a Golden Handbag Awards.” Aisha Chaudhry, from Berlin 

Finola Brophy is supportive, hard-working on behalf of others, generous, warm and an excellent leader. Together with Musical Director Aneesa Chaudry, she has propelled the Rainbow Chorus to become an important and valuable member of the Brighton and Hove Community.” Odaline de la Martinez FRAM

“Of course we are safe, of course we belong already, of course we know where we’re going, of course the trickiest issues will be tackled with an expert touch to find fair and inclusive solutions, of course we’ll make our community proud: Finola’s here with us.” Pascal Congès

I first met Finola when I joined the Rainbow Chorus almost three years ago. She was rushing around trying to ensure that new members night went smoothly but still took the time to come over at the end of the evening and speak to all of us newbies individually to ensure we felt welcome. Since that evening, I have constantly been amazed by her energy and passion for life. A gifted communicator, Fin works tirelessly for many causes in the LGBT+ communities and is not afraid to speak out against inequality and injustice. She takes every opportunity to highlight the difficulties encountered by many sections of our society such as older LGBT+ people, transgender or refugees looking for ways to help and support all of them. In her position as chair of the Rainbow Chorus and RC+ she is always working behind the scenes to raise our profile and to make this a safe and positive space for all LGBT+ people. There is no doubt that she has played a huge part in making the chorus what it is today and something that I am incredibly proud to be part of. A remarkable woman, she’s what my mother would call “the salt of the earth”. Solid, strong, grounded, kind and compassionate, she has a wicked sense of humour to boot. No matter how busy she is, she has an uncanny way of knowing when someone needs a helping hand, a supportive hug or a shoulder to cry on – and is happy to offer all of the above! In spite of all that she does, she remains very modest, often playing down her involvement and achievements.  She never seeks recognition for the many, many hours of voluntary work she gives to our community yet I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Finola. She touches the lives of so many in such a positive way and  I feel privileged to know her.” Lorraine Campbell

Within the Rainbow Chorus, Finola is an inspirational chair. She supports choir members with their musical aspirations, encouraging and sometimes cajoling them to work hard to perform to their best abilities. She also fulfils a pastoral role and is kind and compassionate to those members needing more personal support. She works hard to ensure that the choir is as inclusive as possible and is always aware of the differing needs of both choir and audience members. Outside of the choir, Finola has worked tirelessly to promote and champion the cause of LGBT+ rights. She has supported organisations and projects throughout the LGBT+ communities and has ensured that the Rainbow Chorus and its audiences are aware of what’s going on in the wider LGBT+ communities. She highlights discriminations and injustices worldwide to remind us all of why we do what we do and why it is important that we are such a visible presence.” Debbie Shannahan  RC

“Finola spends time above and beyond her role as chair of the Rainbow Chorus. Everyone who meets her is affected by her warmth of character and her genuine interest, concern and positive regard. Members join a choir for many reasons, not only to sing and I have seen Finola take time to help, understand and support members who are dealing with their own personal crisis. Her role in the LGBT+ communities cannot be understated, she has brought together groups across Brighton in song and contributed hugely towards a positive LGBT+ image in Brighton and Hove. Finola steps down from her role as Chair of the Rainbow Chorus this year and although she has never sought recognition for this role she is uniquely deserving of a community accolade.” Duncan Brown, RC committee member

“Finola is one of our greatest supporters of the LGBT+ communities and works tirelessly for everyone in those communities, no matter what is happening in her own life.  She is there for any individual or group and will do anything to do the best she can for everyone.  She is an amazing, compassionate and generous woman who deserves all the accolades that can be bestowed upon her.  She is awesome in the truest sense of the word and we feel very blessed to call her our friend.” Harry O’Neill and Andy Braybrook

“My name is Etan Sela from Amsterdam, member of the Gay Choir Manoeuvre and formal chairman of Amazing Festival (International choir festival, Amsterdam The Netherlands 2016). I have know Finola for a few years now. No doubt that in case I need to mention a few names within the LGBT+ choirs in Europe (around 120 choirs, more than 3500 members), Finola will be one of the first one to be mentioned. Finola is simply a great person! Her dedication, energy, sensitivity and her ability to reach any person is unique. The range of skills she has is amazing, diplomatic yet sticking to the goals, funny and straight-forward, last but not least, open-minded and a caring soul. Whenever she comes into a room, you cannot avoid her, she is “like a smiling magnet”! I wish we had many ‘Finola’s’ in the LGBT+ communities all over the world.” Etan Sela, from Amsterdam in The Netherlands

“I think Finola deserves recognition for all the hard work she has done for the Rainbow Chorus and other areas in the LGBT+ communities over the years. There is a lot of work that she does behind the scenes that lots of people aren’t aware of and this would be a well deserved award.” Linda Whapham, RC volunteer

What to say about Finola? I first came across her well over a decade ago when I was working at M&S and she came through my till. Having completed her transaction, she put her card back in her purse and leaned over to whisper “it’s so nice to be served by a dyke”…. I was gobsmacked that a total stranger would actually have the front to say such a thing to me (or anyone else for that matter) – but I didn’t know her then! It was a couple more years before I bumped into her again, and she recognised me from that encounter!! Since that time, she has become one of my dearest and most trusted friends. I didn’t know what an amazing woman she is when I was getting to know her, or in what high regard she is held by so many people. She is an incredibly wise and warm woman, for whom “sisterhood” and “community” are not just  words, but a way of life. She is tireless in her efforts to promote her many causes, build communications, strengthen links, – sometimes at great personal cost, but  always seems to have time for a kind word and a hug when it’s needed. She remembers the little things, without fail. Simply put, Fin is an extraordinary woman – a force of nature if you like. The kind of woman you’d want on your side. Capable of holding her own in difficult situations, she is at home talking to officials and politicians yet can put the most nervous person at ease. A schmoozer extraordinaire who is nowhere to be found when it’s time to go home, because she will be talking to someone about something important! Generous and hospitable (and hosting legendary parties), she cares about people deeply and passionately. I can’t think of a single person who deserves proper recognition more than Finola Brophy does, and I am proud and privileged to stand with her both in song and as a friend.” Ruth Hughes, RC

“I believe Finola deserves an award because she is tireless in her bid to bring woman in the LGBT+ community together. More often than not she sets aside her own physical needs to further those of others; whether that’s assisting the Rainbow Chorus and its members, providing reassurance and inclusion to new members of the community or offering accommodation to those who find themselves in need of respite. She is the embodiment of a generous spirited and kind older lesbian who always shines a light on the positive attributes of those she meets.” Beverley Cherrill

“Ever since I met Finola about five years ago I have been struck by her formidable energy and the way she uses it in the interest of Brighton and Hove LGBT+ community groups, especially in the Rainbow Chorus with which she has been involved for a decade. As the choir’s Chair for the last five years she has been determined to improve their status and their support for all the LGBT+ folk who want to sing, including Trans members.  Undeterred even in the face of the apparently impossible, she has achieved a high profile for the Rainbow Chorus, ensuring their presence at local events, challenging homophobia, bi and transphobia. Recently she has also been an active committee member of Older and Out, an initiative combatting loneliness and isolation among older LGBT folks in Brighton. I have the greatest admiration for Fiona’s community work and cannot think of a more deserving recipient of a community award.” Jane Traies

“Finola is an enthusiastic ambassador for the LGBT+ communities.  She is supportive and empathic, and embraces all strands of our community with particular reference to older LGBT+ people. She works tirelessly to ensure that all are included within the LGBT+ agenda through attending different fora. I think that she would be a worthy recipient of a Golden Handbag Award.” Frances Horsley, Older and Out

“Finola is a phenomenal  woman who seems to have masses of energy though I know she doesn’t, but still works tirelessly for LGBT+ causes including Rainbow Chorus, Older and Out, and Working to Connect the LGBT+ Small Groups Network. At any event she can be seen networking whilst the rest of us are enjoying ourselves! On top of that she is a warm, compassionate woman who always has time and cares for everyone.” Mary Fielder, RC

“I have found Finola to be welcoming, supportive and encouraging. She made me feel at home  and part of the LGBT+ choral community and it quite simply would not be the same without her. She is an amazing person, warm kind and inclusive. For all this I feel she should be awarded a Golden Handbag!” Di, RC

In the 5 years I have known Finola it is in her capacity as Chair of RC. Finola has been a dedicated and inspiring leader not just of RC but within the wider LGBT+ community. She so often puts others needs first and is happy to doggedly champion and communicate on issues that need to be talked about. She is a wonderful networker and has done so much to break down barriers within LGBT community by reaching out and working with others.” Miranda Lowe, RC

Finola is a compassionate, vivacious and kind-hearted woman who has done a huge amount for the local, national and international LGBT+ choral community.” Dave Cooper

“Fin is one of the most genuine and big-hearted people I’ve ever met, she is always thinking of others and making sure that no one is being excluded. She thinks of everything and everyone! Most importantly she makes things happen and she makes a difference to people’s lives including mine.” Bobby Jones, RC

“Fin is the heart of the choir, she cares about the visibility of LGBT+ issues among the community whilst taking a genuine interest in looking after people in the choir. She’s a force of nature and the choir has been lucky to have her as Chair. As a group we’ve grown and become an even bigger presence in the Brighton community because of her.” Kezia Bibby, RC

“Finola is the most selfless person I have ever known and such a beautiful soul. She consistently puts others needs before her own and tirelessly works hard to fight for equal rights and LGBT+ causes. She builds bridges between people and communities, fights for the underdog, gives time love and support to anyone in need who has the pleasure of knowing her. I’ve worked alongside her for several years as Treasurer of the RC and witnessed just how much time and energy she devotes to the RC and LGBT+ causes in general, going way beyond the call of duty. At a social or community gathering, despite all the people she knows and needs to network with, she’s also the one to notice the person in the room feeling excluding and will make it her job to chat to them and help them feel loved. I feel very proud and privileged to know her. I can’t think of anyone who deserves recognition more. This is long overdue.”  Simonne Gnessen, RC, Wise Monkey Financial Coaching

I have got to know Finola as my partner is a member of Rainbow Chorus and I was a volunteer there for some time. I am unable to stand for long periods now so no longer volunteer but meet her often at concerts. She always seems to know when people are struggling and is unfailingly supportive. A wise and above all caring woman.” Catherine Marr, Partner of Mary Fielder

“Finola deserves recognition for the massive work she has done for many years and continues to do for the LGBT+ communities. She is a tireless advocate and fighter for equality and has continued to work hard to raise awareness and recognition of issues of discrimination and to challenge this in positive ways. She has been an inspirational Chair of the RC for the past 5 or so years and has put endless hours of work into developing and supporting the choir and its members both as Chair and on a personal level. This is often despite her own significant health challenges, which Fin will typically shrug off with a smile. She is always ready to listen and to offer friendly advice or a shoulder to cry on if needed, and is a genuinely warm, kind, lovely and welcoming person. She is an inspirational speaker and continues to work to reach out to different groups in the LGBT+ family in Brighton, particularly those people who may be most isolated or troubled, as well as continuing to make connections with LGBT+ communities and groups in the rest of the UK and in other countries through her work with Legato. She has also been actively involved with the communities forum for a number of years.

“This would be a great way to give Fin the recognition she deserves for the massive contribution she has made to the LGBT+ communities over the years.” Bev Morgan, Vice Chair, RC

“Finola has been, and is a force to be reckoned with. She brings people together, helps overcome difference and barriers as well as always being able to focus on individuals alongside the big picture. She has been a driving force in supporting the local, and national (even international) choral LGBT+ communities and continues to collaborate and work towards shared causes, an example would be how she jointly drove the Brighton ‘Hand in Hand’ effort as well as collaborating on the Brighton Various Voices bid. Through personal strife, she still puts on a strong front which is a reflection of her personal commitment and endurance.  She always has positive encouragement to say about others so in her words… she’s a special lovely woman, with a big heart and we are lucky to have and know her.” Steve Rose

“I’ve not known Finola long, but she’s been a huge supporter of mine and me of her. She’s made me feel good when I can’t feel it for myself. Anyone that has the ability to do that is a person worth rewarding.” Jonny Wade

“I have the pleasure of knowing Finola for many years now and I feel she would handsomely deserve such a community award. Recently a social commentator said that Brighton & Hove doesn’t have an LGBT+ community, instead, it has an LGBT+ population with not much community feel. I’m not sure if I agree with that statement, but I definitely agree that there are people who tirelessly work to make sure that a sense of community is present among LGBT+ people, and Finola is one of those people, if not at the forefront. I attend and belong to many organisations in the city and Finola is a constant presence and voice of support there. Always the first to lend a hand and to provide support, in whatever capacity she can. As co-founder of Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus, I know the importance of support among other choirs in the city and Finola, just like her predecessors at the helm of the RC, has always championed and advocated such spirt. The two choruses have successfully collaborated on many projects together, like co-hosting the national LGBT Choral Festival Hand In Hand and Finola was an instrumental key figure with her infectious passion, endless energy and drive to succeed. She is a formidable colleague to have in the queer choral movement and I’m lucky enough to be able to call her a friend. The kind of friend that is there when you need it most and not just for the glory. The kind of friend that will help you even when you don’t ask but knows you desperately need her. A fierce believer in human rights and equality for all, Finola is one of those people who shine like a beacon not for their own advantage but to provide a path of hope and support to those around her.”  Silvio Grasso, Co-founder and PR/Marketing Coordinator, Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus

“I have been singing with the Rainbow chorus for 3 years. What to say about this amazingly caring and giving person. Personally I have gained confidence over the time I have been with RC. Much of this is down to having an amazing role model. Fin tirelessly champions our LGBT + community. I have learned so much from her.” David Broadbent

“I’ve known Fin for three years now and she is so passionate with everybody involved. I can’t believe the amount of hours and dedication she gives to us and the community as a whole. She is very understanding and sees all sides of the argument. She is a great chair, ambassador, and friend to all and many.” Rob Tyler, RC 

“I have known Finola for 6 years and have worked alongside her both as secretary and vice chair of the Rainbow Chorus. She is a formidable woman with an enviable energy and zest for life. She works tirelessly within the LGBT communities giving so much of herself and has impacted positively on the lives of many many people within our communities. The Rainbow Chorus has been a lifeline for many of our members who gain so much from singing and feeling that they are part of something so worthwhile. Finola has been an integral part of making the Chorus what it is today. Everything she does, she does with love and compassion and a strong moral code. I am proud to have worked alongside her but I am prouder still to be able to call her my friend.” Katy Jenner

“Finola is a wonderful woman who is a powerhouse of love and support within the LGBT+ communities – choral and otherwise. I have got to know her through her work with RC and the UK LGBT choruses and indeed her tireless support and dedication to our lives and voices is phenomenal. It’s an honour to know her – and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than her for such a community award.” Addie Orfila, singer, Deep C Divas

“Finola is a wonderful ambassador for the LGBT+ communities and I feel immensely fortunate to know her. I joined the rainbow chorus which is an LGBT+ community choir to meet new people and sing. I was extremely nervous and anxious on my first day but Finola put me immediately at ease and welcomed me. She hasn’t stopped doing that since and I really look forward to seeing her every time we meet. She is the very definition of community spirit and she is the glue that binds the RC and a number of other LGBT organisations, probably even worldwide, together. Her tireless efforts to involve the RC in supporting community events never ceases to amaze me. I thought I would be proud to be a member of a choir but she makes me proud to be a member of her community. I am so grateful for everything she has done and my world is a fabulous place because of her.” Jess Dare

“Finola is a force to be reckoned with. When she puts her mind to something the determination and passion to see it happen comes rolling out with love. She is a driving force at making the Rainbow Chorus speak for all members of the LGBT+ communities.” Meg Price

“Last summer I met Finola during the AmaSing Choir Festival in Amsterdam. Her warmth was impressing. She was a kind of ‘elderly stateswoman’ for the whole choir. I didn’t know who she was and what she was doing in the choir at that moment but right away you knew that she was the one to deal with. Taking care about everyone in the choir who felt a little alone or not well. Or to go to with any kind of question. Finola for President!!!” Marcel Oor from Gay Men’s Chorus Manoeuvre Amsterdam and organisor of AmaSing Choir Festival.  

“Finola is an Inspirational woman, leader, with a sense for other human beings. She is full of life, her life energy shines through inner strength and wisdom. She is very warm and heartly which shows in her actions on a daily basis. She fights for the rights of the LGBT+ communities and she is committed to make people’s lives better and works hard within the choir and community around it.  She looks after peoples’ wellbeing and makes sure everyone is safe. She cares for the people and she works hard to protect the vulnerable. She is very experienced and shares her knowledge with others. Her mission for making everybody welcome is shown on peoples’ faces when they feel joy and support and are in a safe place.” Mojca Monte, accompanist Rainbow Chorus

“I’ve only known Finola for a short while…(through the RC) and she stands out to me as a truly amazing, inspirational leader and voice for the LGBT+ communities. Proud and never one to not say what needs to be said… and a beautiful, caring person as well I only wish I had met her when I was younger! Huge thanks and respect to Fin for everything she does.” Liza O Malley

“She is a rare breed: a woman who puts aside personal needs for the greater good.  She has fought on the side of many a good cause from Greenham Common, Women’s Rights, LGBT Rights to all-encompassing Human Rights. Her fire and enthusiasm manifests itself in everything she does and her manner and presence achieves a slow but wide wake into which others fall willingly.”

“Since moving to Brighton five years ago I have been touched, moved and inspired by the incredible commitment this woman shows to the LGBT+ communities and gives so much to everyone she meets within our community.” Aneesa Chaudhry MD of RC 

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