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Nigel Brown says seniors benefit physically, socially and mentally from the program.

The donor: Nigel Brown

The gift: Creating Sing For Your Life

The reason: To offer music programs for seniors

When Nigel Brown was growing up in Britain, his home was usually filled with the sound of his mother singing. Even as a senior living on her own in rural England, Katherine Brown loved to sing. "Whenever you drove up to the cottage, you heard singing," Mr. Brown, 72, recalled from his home in Kelowna, B.C.

Mr. Brown's brother, Stuart, kept up the singing tradition, joining a choir in Britain and becoming involved in research into the benefits of music for seniors. That led to the creation of Sing For Your Life, a British charity that runs specially designed singing and music programs for elderly people.

Mr. Brown is no stranger to the non-profit sector, having co-founded the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada, and he brought the concept to B.C. five years ago, setting up the Sing For Your Life Foundation in Kelowna. The organization runs three sessions, involving singing, music and other activities, for about 100 seniors in total. Mr. Brown, who also helps to raise about $17,000 annually to cover costs, added that seniors benefit physically, socially and mentally from the program. "We see the results and we say, 'How can we stop?'"