Hunstanton's Joe and Helen prove that it’s never too late in life
If you want proof that it is never too late to start again in life then consider the case of Joe and Helen Froggett.
The newly-weds can now be found for a considerable portion of the week enjoying life in Hunstanton.
But this older couple have got plenty else going on apart from loving life in their second home.
The pair have forged not just a romantic attachment but a business one as well, as record label owner Helen transforms her 61-year-old accountant husband into a singing star named Joe Rose.
Already a recording by Joe has been played by Elaine Paige on her influential BBC Radio 2 Sunday show and a single and album recorded.
So how did a dyed-in-the-wool accountant, who has, and is still, running his accountancy firm in Hertfordshire get drawn into the recording studio?
Forty years helping businesses with their finances is not normally seen as the stepping stone to singing success.
Let alone a childhood happily spent in a council flat in Bethnal Green, leaving school at 16 and only ending up in his career because he thought the interview was for a turf accountant.
Chance played its part, of course. Approaching 60, Joe found himself single following the end of his 30-year marriage which bore five children, two of which have followed in his footsteps and work with him.
Joe, whose impressive set of tattoos extending down both arms and the back have only been added in the past three years, decided to enrol on an online dating site.
A few weeks later he met Helen, the founder of an independent local record label called Folkstock, known for championing unknown performers.
“We have spent every day together since day two,” said Helen. “The attraction was that strong. I thought he had such a good voice. I just had to record it.”
This was news to Joe. “I sung around the office and home but nowhere else much, not even karaoke, really,” he said. “But I’ve alway loved the crooners, Neil Diamond or Matt Monro, those type of people, show tunes.”
Joe said that he had always wanted to live by the sea, which is how they came to find a home in Hunstanton, which they hope eventually to make their sole abode.
Joe said: “I just feel the stress levels drop up here.”
Joe’s first foray into the recording studio generated a cover of Elvis’s Can’t Help Falling in Love, for a homelessness charity in Royston, where they had both been volunteers.
Two a capella songs followed (Joe does not play any instruments) which were O Holy Night and Red, Red Rose, and then Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserables, which Elaine Paige played.
If I Never Sing Another Song comes out as a single next Friday and is sung in tribute to Joe Longthorne, who died earlier this month, and who enjoyed great success with it.
Released on all platforms, it will also be available in physical format on CD, which is earmarked for late October release.
Of the single, Joe said: “This release is my personal tribute to a man who has given me hours and hours of pleasure, who has been the main player in the musical backdrop of my life.
“In fact, Joe Longthorne inspired me to dare to attempt some of the songs he immortalised, and it was then that I realised all over again, what a great chasm his passing has created.
“Thankfully we have his musical legacy as consolation. Recording the songs he performed, particularly this track, has brought it home to me yet again what an awesomely talented showman he was.
“He looked as if he was born to the stage and that is where his genius lay. A consummate performer, always engaging this audience, putting his all into his shows, he inspires me on my journey.
“I am in awe of his legacy and am humbled to be releasing a song which for me, was one he delivered, time and time again, with passion and pathos. I just hope I’ve done it justice.”
Joe’s recording, again produced by Martin Lumsden at Cream Room Sound Productions, Dane End in Hertfordshire, really hits home with a most poignant rendition of the famous song whose lyrics were written by legendary wordsmith, Don Black.
For more details go online to http://www.folkstockartsfoundation.com/joe-rose/
More by this authorMark Leslie