My first visit to the Royal Albert Hall was in August 1967 when I was 16 years old. It was also my first experience of a Promenade Concert and my diary tells me it was to hear Don Giovanni. I was not disappointed and the RAH has held a special place in my heart ever since. The next visits were not until 1970 when I was training to be a nurse at one of the London Teaching Hospitals. That year saw many visits to the Proms; this time promenading in the gallery. I also attended a Boys Brigade display. However, the most memorable occasion that year was in November when I had the privilege of singing in the choir at a Christian Youth Fellowship Association Rally when Youth Praise 2 was introduced and the guest speaker was Billy Graham. That evening has always stood out as being something special.
After leaving London it was to be many years before I would return to RAH and had to instead enjoy watching the Proms on television; always making time for the Last Night. When I found myself working in London again at St Mary’s Hospital, other opportunities presented themselves. St Mary’s had a box at RAH and so I used to enter the ballot for tickets and was fortunate enough to attend many concerts and once again enjoy the atmosphere and music.
As we now lived nearer London again, it was easier to purchase tickets for other concerts throughout the year. So, as well as the Proms over subsequent years, we have attended organ recitals, Prom Praise and various Christmas productions. Not only have we enjoyed the experience ourselves but have taken visitors and friends and family. Each time there is an excitement as we approach and enter the iconic building built for the people by Prince Albert with the magnificent Albert Memorial in the foreground as you approach from across Hyde Park.
I look forward to being able to visit RAH again in the not too distant future. It is such a special venue that holds so many special memories.