Sea shanty singer Trevor Munkenbeck from the popular local singing group Mariners Away, has opened up about how singing has helped the band members’ physical and mental health.

Mr Munkenbeck spoke about how singing has helped the band member Eric Partridge recover from near-fatal heart attacks; improved breathing difficulties and increased confidence.

He said: “We know that singing builds confidence but it helps physical health too. One of our members had a cardiac arrest and he maintains that his singing and camaraderie with the Mariners Away got him through it.

“The paramedics had to break some of his ribs when resusciating him and singing helped him recover more quickly.

“We’ve also had a chap who would only take part in the chorus because of difficulty breathing but now he sings the whole song.”

This comes as the band prepare to perform at the Exeter Corn Exchange next month to raise money for the Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) hospital charity where both Mr Partridge and Mr Munkenbeck have received care.

Mr Munkenbeck had stent surgery at the hospital in 2021, while in November last year, Mr Partridge spent five weeks on the hospital’s Avon Ward recovering from his heart attack.

Mr Partridge said: “It is thanks to the expert care of all the nurses, doctors and ancillary staff in ICU and Avon Ward that I am now well on the road to a full recovery and back performing with Mariners Away.

“In truth though, many members of the group have either received expert treatment from the hospital in some way, or know someone who has.”

Mr Munkenbeck added: “We’re having a concert in thank you for all that RD&E have done for us. All profits will go directly to the RD&E who will use the proceeds to buy equipment for their departments which will directly benefit patients.”

The concert will also feature award-winning folk singer-songwriter Jim Causley; internationally-renowned harpist Elizabeth-Jane Baldry; and Plymouth-based prog-folk trio Windjammer. The concert will be compered by Devon comedian Jonno.

Mariners Away’s most recent gig took place in Exeter last weekend (September 23-24) where they sang on board the Norfolk Fishing Smack, named Britannia, as she sailed into harbour.

The band has become one of the West Country’s leading groups after a mere 16 years and perform regularly at international festivals, Sidmouth and Lyme Regis Folk Festivals and theatres such as the Plough at Torrington and have featured on BBC Spotlight.