I HAVE had two giant dollops of perspective served up to me lately.

First, the sudden and tragic loss of my friend Tracey Allen, who you may have read about since she was nothing short of a miracle worker who made a huge on impact on the lives of so many in Brighton.

She was only 50 and her death was a complete shock to all who knew and loved her.

One moment she was living her life, and then she was gone.

When something like that happens to someone too young and vibrant to leave this world, it stops you in your tracks.

It reminds you of your own mortality and makes you take stock. I have spent many hours since hearing the news of Tracey’s passing not only in complete awe of the person she was, but also giving some thought to how I am using my time on this planet.

Sure I donate to charities and support local causes where possible, but I am not actually getting off my backside and making a real difference like she did.

Tracey was simply an inspiration. Despite being her friend for more than 15 years, even I was unaware of some of her incredible achievements, as humble as she was.

Because of her, there is now a memorial fund established in her name by her family to ensure the causes she truly believed in will continue to benefit from her legacy. The truth is I would like to be more Tracey and I hope to find a way to do that in the coming months.

I cannot pretend for one minute I will make the same kind of impact she did in her short but impressive life, but her death has certainly giving me a kick up the backside to be more useful, somehow.

The other deeply moving experience I have had recently, was thanks to a visit to Brighton Dome to see The Choir With No Name perform some well-loved Christmas songs. The choir is made up of people affected by homelessness in the city and the whole evening was so positive and uplifting, it was an absolute joy to witness.

More about the night in a moment. First I want to tell you about the choir itself, how it all began and what it hopes to achieve for its members.

I have seen The Choir With No Name’s Christmas event advertised for a couple of years running now, but this was the first time I remembered to book up in time and I am so glad I did. It transpired, when we arrived, some of my friends recognised Marie Benton, one of the choir leaders on stage, as she is a Hove resident and school mum in our area.

In fact, Marie started the choir in London in 2008 and it has grown from strength to strength over the past decade or so. There are now four choirs around the country. Marie set up the London version first, then two more in Birmingham and Liverpool, with Brighton being the most recent addition, established in August of last year.

Their mission is “to enable marginalised people to make friends, build their confidence and skills and find their place in society.” The whole idea is to just turn up to their weekly sessions and enjoy it. There is no need to be the next Mariah Carey or Ed Sheehan. The only prerequisite is either being homeless or marginalised.

In Brighton, the choir meets every Monday, starting with a cuppa, biscuit and a chat and then rehearses for 90 minutes before enjoying a meal together thanks to a team of volunteers. As I witnessed last Wednesday at the Dome, there are no bounds when it comes to the music genres they embrace... from pop to gospel, rock to classical.

The whole evening was magical and so much fun.

Both the Brighton and London choirs were together on stage for much of the show, with many members taking solos during the festive numbers.

It was a display of solidarity, pride and hope and it warmed me to the tips of my toes.

But of course, the event also brought the homelessness crisis in our city rushing to the forefront. Many are on the streets once again this Christmas with nowhere safe, let alone dry or warm, to go and scared for their futures.

It is amazing organisations like The Choir With No Name which shine a light on those who really need support and work hard to treat people with dignity and respect.

One brilliantly captivating member, Helen, told us of her journey from homelessness and addiction to now living a cleaner, more stable life thanks to meeting the group every week and feeling part of a supportive “family.” It was easy to see the choir’s ethos is to challenge traditional views on homelessness and to give people a voice, some fun and a sense of belonging.