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.
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.”