CHEPSTOW has lost a ‘larger than life character’, the Review has learned, after opera singer Karl Daymond was taken ill at an ‘emotional’ town council meeting to decide the future of the Drill Hall on Wednesday, August 9.
Karl was known to many people in Chepstow and the surrounding area as the ’Singing Clubber’, running five singing clubs in Chepstow, Usk and the Forest of Dean.
Mayor of Chepstow, Cllr Dale Rooke, said after his sudden death: “Karl was a larger than life character who is going to be very sorely missed. He was very involved in the community and I’d known him for about six years since I became a councillor. It is heart-breaking that someone so community-driven was taken from us at such a young age.
“The meeting was to decide the future of the Drill Hall. It never actually started as we had fifteen minutes for the public to speak before-hand. Two speakers were left and Karl was one of them.
“He was quite stressed about speaking and we think that in itself may have been a contributing factor. Karl got up to leave the room and collapsed on the landing outside.
“It was an emotional meeting, but we knew it was going to be. About 80 people were present. Many of the speakers were supportive of the proposed lottery bid and some criticised the management culture of the proposed Community Interest Organisation, but there was no animosity.
“It was particularly traumatic as when he collapsed, everyone was stuck in the council chamber and lots of the people in the room knew Karl.”
Karl trained as an opera singer. As a principal baritone he sang with English National Opera and Welsh National Opera, performing at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and at Glyndebourne.
He ran the Chepstow Chatelaines, Duke’s Yard and Chepstow Castle Singing Clubs in the town and singing clubs in Usk and the Forest of Dean.
He organised Songs of the Somme at the Drill Hall last November and in July this year, the singing clubs sang a Syrian song at the iNEED Hope festival for refugees in Herefordshire.
The meeting to discuss the future of the Drill Hall is now due to take place on Wednesday, August 15, at 7pm at the Palmer Centre in Chepstow.