Joan’s musical tribute to tragic Rudy

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For Joan Fox being part of Blackpool Music Academy is more than just a hobby – and as she revealed, has been a life saver for her in recent years.

The 69-year-old said the death of her 16-month old grandson Rudy four years ago left her devastated – but encouragement from the Academy’s members got her back into music – even writing a single in tribute to the toddler.

Joan Fox at her keyboard

Joan Fox at her keyboard

She told The Gazette: “I played the piano when I was younger until I was 16.

“But I never touched an instrument until eight years ago when I played the keyboard.

“I joined the Academy after I saw an advert in The Gazette and played at Springfield Methodist Church in Bispham – but in many ways it has been a life-saver.

“Four years ago my one and only little grandchild died 16 months old. I was utterly devastated. I did not feel like doing anything.

I joined the Academy after I saw an advert in The Gazette and played at Springfield Methodist Church in Bispham – but in many ways it has been a life-saver

“But the members at the church kept ringing me, asking to come back.

“They were absolutely brilliant.”

Since returning to the group Joan has penned a single called My Wee Land Across The Sea, which has been picked up by Mary O’Shea, a soprano singer who has performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Joan, of Ardmore Road, Bispham said: “Stephen Austin, our teacher, set us some homework to write a few bars. I do not know where it came from but I wrote a whole song and I have dedicated it to my grandson. I cry when I play it I miss him so much.

“Since starting at the Academy I have learned so much.

“I look forward to every Tuesday when I can go and play. We have a diverse group of people.

“I cannot understand why anyone would not be interested in music.”

And after the launch of The Gazette’s Give Us A Tune campaign, she backed the appeal for 50 instruments and £20,000 to subsidise music lessons at the Academy.

The former hotelier said: “I am very supportive of it. I really am.

“Every child should learn to play a musical instrument.

“It helps to support people and give them confidence.”