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BNB owner wins top award after entertaining guests with her opera singing

A landlady has scooped a prestigious accolade for her welcoming B&B – thanks to her OPERA renditions to her guests.

Soprano Jackie Sansum, 69, has appeared all over the world since becoming a professional singer in her late 40s.

And when she is not on stage she treats visitors to performances of her favourite classics over breakfast.

Jackie Sansum sings opera to her Bed and Breakfast guests at the Old Post Office Guest House

Jackie Sansum sings opera to her Bed and Breakfast guests at the Old Post Office Guest House

Grandmother Jackie started singing after a reviewer remarked on her superb voice when she gave them an impromptu rendition during a weekend stay a few years ago.

Guests at her converted 17th century post office now frequently request something from her repertoire as they tuck into a full English.

Her little dining room becomes a temporary opera set with guests getting a front row seat for her powerful voice.

Bubbly Jackie’s recitals saw her and her husband Roger, 69, named as finalists for the AA Friendliest Bed and Breakfast Award 2016.

The mum-of-three said: “I always sing here every week.

“I’m number one on TripAdvisor and people say to me ‘I hear you sing’ and I’m always being asked to sing by my guests.

“I sing after they’ve had their breakfast.

 Jackie Sansum aged 50 while she was performing as a professional opera singer.

Jackie Sansum aged 50 while she was performing as a professional opera singer.

“It’s a big voice. They have to brace themselves. It’s a very big voice.

“I’ve sang for an hour before – it was like a concert hall in there.

“Madame Butterfly, Land of Hope and Glory – they love it. I get standing ovations.

“I do take requests and the songs from Madame Butterfly are probably the most requested.

“I’m an emotional kind of person, so my voice comes from somewhere within.

“We are so well regarded and people like how friendly I am – and I think it is partly down to my singing.

“People feel welcomed. Who wants to go somewhere and feel like you aren’t welcomed?”

Jackie, a grandmother-of-three from South Marston, Wilts., has always been interested in music, but didn’t start lessons until she was in her late 30s.

She didn’t realise her own talent until she sang at a folk festival and a stranger told her ‘you’ve got one of the most amazing voices – like a young Joan Sutherland’.

Jackie Sansum sings opera to her Bed and Breakfast guests at the Old Post Office Guest House

Jackie Sansum sings opera to her Bed and Breakfast guests at the Old Post Office Guest House

Jackie recalled: “It was very raw, but he noticed something in my voice.

“I didn’t really know I had anything special. I had never really pushed myself.”

Jackie continued to have lessons and eventually enrolled on a week-long college course in singing where she was spotted by a director and signed up with an agent.

She proudly said: “I came up top. I didn’t realise that they thought my voice was so wonderful.”

Jackie regularly sang as a freelance soloist around the world, appearing in front of up to 1,000 people in Italy, France and Germany.

Her most memorable concert was a Madame Butterfly medley close to Venice’s Grand Canal in front of an audience of more than 500 around eight years ago.

Now she does around one show a month – mostly birthdays and weddings in the UK – charging around £500 for a half hour.

But her voice is in pitch-perfect form thanks to the weekly dining room recitals, whenever she cooks the weekend breakfast for her guests.

Jackie Sansum sings opera to her Bed and Breakfast guests at the Old Post Office Guest House

Jackie Sansum sings opera to her Bed and Breakfast guests at the Old Post Office Guest House

Their home, which started life as a small farm and bake house, has been in her husband’s family for four generations.

The couple have run it as a ten-bed guesthouse for the last ten years, and charge around £60 a night.

“I don’t sing during the week because it’s business people and they don’t want to hear me – they want to tap away at their emails on their iPads,” said Jackie.

“I love what I do – singing and the b and b.

“When I was in my 50s I was asked to go with the Royal Opera for six weeks, but I had my children.

“But to be truthful I’m very content with my lot. I have a lovely marriage and lovely children and I get to do what I love.”

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