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Students help Sunbeams “reach the unreachables”

Date: Friday 16th December 2011
At the cheque hand-over (left to right) are Liam Ogden, Annie Maw­son, Liesl McViety and Geoffrey Larkin.
At the cheque hand-over (left to right) are Liam Ogden, Annie Maw­son, Liesl McViety and Geoffrey Larkin.

MANY students at Penrith’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School enjoy music and gain a lot from singing and playing instruments in many choirs, orchestras, bands and ensembles. so, when the school council had to decide on which local charity to support with £2,500, a proportion of the almost £9,000 raised through the school’s sponsored walk, it did not take them long to settle on Sunbeams Music Trust.

This Eden-based group provides community music therapy throughout Cumbria to children and adults with a wide range of disabilities and complex medical needs, including physical disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism, Down’s Syndrome, sensory impairments, emotional and behavioural disturbance, profound multiple disabilities and, in some cases, life threatening or terminal illnesses.

Due to the severity of the problems, these children are too vulnerable to enter into most mainstream activities which are open to children with fewer disabilities.

Founder Annie Mawson said: “Sunbeams delivers more than 60 live music workshops in 53 project venues every month, transforming the lives of our beneficiaries through our Music For Life, Music For Health and Family Learning Programs.

“Every month, we help more than 1,000 people ranging from six months to 108 years old. Many of the elderly people whom we serve suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia: they may not remember their own names but know all the words of the songs we sing with them!”

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Annie explained that by tackling the serious challenges raised by social exclusion, deprivation, ill-health and inequality, Sunbeams is “reaching the unreachables”.

Annie and Sunbeams colleague Liesl McViety were delighted to meet QEGS senior students Geoffrey Larkin and Liam Ogden, who presented the £2,500 cheque on behalf of all the students at the school.

BELOW: At the cheque hand-over (left to right) are Liam Ogden, Annie Mawson, Liesl McViety and Geoffrey Larkin.


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