COMMUNITY singing group Tweed Valley Cheyne Gang is celebrating its first birthday.

The Innerleithen-based choir was set up last year for people living with long-term respiratory conditions such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), asthma and bronchiectasis.

The aim is to encourage singers to use better breathing techniques, undertake a gentle physical workout and have a lot of fun.

And the gang has had a busy first year.

Not only has it met fortnightly in Innerleithen but, along with the other Cheyne Gang groups in Edinburgh, has performed at Jupiter Artland with The Nevis Ensemble and sung at the Scottish Parliament at the launch of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland’s report on the need for more rehabilitation services

The group has taken part in the Edinburgh Book Festival, raised funds locally through a coffee morning and is currently taking part in research with medical students from Edinburgh University.

Voice coach, Julie Harvey has been delighted with the progress of the group.

She said:“It has been a huge privilege to work as a voice coach with The Cheyne Gang over the past 12 months.

“The Borders group has been a huge success thanks to our amazing singers, our helpers, our local community in Tweeddale and the Cheyne Gang team in Edinburgh.

“I believe passionately in the positive impact singing can have on our physical and mental health and well-being, and in our everyday life.

“We have a lot of fun at the Cheyne Gang sessions, but we also take our work with people on breathing and managing breathlessness seriously.”

The group was launched in the Tweed Valley in January last year and already has a core of 20 people who attend regularly.

They are also open for new singers. Member Ian said: “The singing exercises I perform during my fortnightly session at the Cheyne Gang have not only eased my breathing difficulties, I have also found them so easy to do at home.

“The group of folk attending the sessions make you feel so welcome as does the music teacher.

“Congratulations to everyone involved on the first anniversary of our Cheyne Gang.

“Why not come along and join us and feel the difference it makes to your breathing?”

The next session is on Thursday, February 21, then Wednesday, March 6, from 1-3pm in the Union Club, Peebles Road, Innerleithen.

If you think the Cheyne Gang is something that might help you or if you work for NHS and would like to find out more about what they do, pop along to one of the sessions or contact Anne Ritchie at