THE founder and musical director of the Kidderminster Valentines choir has died aged 74.

Pam Cunningham, who helped to raise thousands of pounds for charity, died on Wednesday, January 8 of ovarian cancer.

Mrs Cunningham set up the Kidderminster Valentines in 1988 with the wives and girlfriends of Kidderminster Male Choir members who wanted to sing.

The group, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, has grown to more than 80 members and performed all over Europe.

The great-grandmother was also a retired teacher who taught music and religious education at a number of Wyre Forest schools.

Her husband Alan Cunningham said: "Pam’s Christianity has been a driving force in her character all her life, and her indomitable faith allowed her to accept her diagnosis of inoperative cancer very positively, thinking of others the whole time."

Mrs Cunningham was born in Gwent, in South Wales, and came to Kidderminster when her husband took up a teaching post at Kidderminster College in 1971.

After qualifying as a teacher at Shenstone College, specialising in music and religious education, she taught at Franche Primary School, Woodfield Middle School in Redditch and St John’s Middle School in Kidderminster.

Many local charities have benefited from Mrs Cunningham's activities through concerts at Kidderminster Town Hall and the National Association of Choirs functions, where she was proactive in bringing other choirs from the West Midlands together.

As well as the Valentines, Mrs Cunningham created and ran St John’s Music Pyramid where she brought together more than 300 instrumentalists and singers and conducted choirs of more than 200 children from seven local schools for concerts.

A statement from the Kidderminster Valentines said: "Everyone who knew Pam Cunningham had their lives touched by her love of music.

"As members of the Kidderminster Valentines we are honoured and privileged to have sung under her unique direction.

"Pam’s ability to impart to us the feeling and emotion of each song that we sang made us into the choir that we are today. She will always be in our hearts as we continue the legacy she gave us, the wonderful joy of singing."

Her funeral will be held at St Ambrose Church, in Birmingham Road, Kidderminster, on Friday, January 24 at 11.45am.