Opera singer tries to ban 'Lady GaGa-type' exercise music
Trish Symon is trying to ban early morning music played at her village primary school Photo: BNPS.co.uk
11:57AM BST 01 Jun 2011
Trish Symon, 61, has complained to environmental health officers about the "offensive" music used for the pupils' five minute "Wake and Shake" sessions.
But parents of children at Loders Primary School, near Bridport, Dorset, have dismissed her complaint as petty.
Mrs Symon, who has performed around with world with stars including Luciano Pavarotti, and Placido Domingo, moved to the village of Loders from the London suburb of Surbiton a year ago.
The school's headmistress, Shirley Gibbs, says the Government-backed Wake and Shake exercise helps tackle obesity and stimulates the children before classes.
They have offered to turn the speakers in a different direction away from Mrs Symon's property but she insists she wants the music stopped altogether.
She said: "We chose this village because I have a lot of stress-related illnesses, which means I wanted a nice quiet environment.
"At a quarter-to-nine of a morning I was assaulted by the noise of something I can only assume was like Lady GaGa-type music blasting through the walls.
"I applaud anything that is for the benefit of the children but I cannot see how annoying the neighbours is going to improve community relations.
"It is offensive and I have to stop it.
"It shatters the peace of the quiet village and becomes something that you dread, every morning I know this noise is going to start and it is like Japanese dripping water torture."
On the back of Mrs Symon's complaint, West Dorset District Council sent an environmental health officer to the school last week.
He tested the noise levels and concluded that no action needs to be taken.
Shirley Gibbs, joint head of Loders Primary School, said the complaint came as a 'complete surprise' to her.
She said most schools across the country do the 'Wake and Shake' exercise and parents often join in as well as staff.
She said: "It is part of our school routine as it is with most schools across the country.
"With the agenda for obesity and the Government's way of tackling things, Wake and Shake contributes to the national agenda as well.
"The complaints were a complete surprise, as far as I know there are two complainants. It starts at 9am and lasts for on average three minutes 20 seconds.
"It is a slightly unbelievable picture. We are a Victorian school but we are in the 21st century."
Mum Lucy Chant, who lives next door to the school, said: "I think it is delightful and I would be really upset if my kids stopped doing it because of a complaint from one neighbour.
"You can hear how much enjoyment they get out of it and I have actually taken part in it. It is 80 kids and a couple of parents and all the teachers."
Mrs Symon has previously worked for the Scottish Opera and spent 26 years with the Royal Opera House.
She later worked as a vocal coach and in supporting roles in television – including a part in EastEnders as Pat Butcher's body double.
She moved to Loders, which has a population of 502, with a view to taking retirement, but is now working as a vocal coach with the Bridport Musical Theatre Company.
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