It’s a kind of magic for Leoni

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A Thornton musician with big dreams was offered a full scholarship at her university of choice – thanks to the legacy of one of Britain’s best-loved stars.

Leoni Jane Kennedy, 18, of Pheasantwood Drive, was chosen by Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor to receive the Freddie Mercury Scholarship at the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, where she will study for a music industry practice degree.

The scholarship, set up in 2016 to celebrate what would have been Freddie’s 70th birthday, means Leoni will receive her uni education - valued at £27,000 - for free. She said: “I can’t explain how happy I am. Money aside, it’s only the third year they have run this scholarship, and being the third person ever to get it, I feel like I’m a part of it. It’s such a nice feeling to get something as big as this that’s going to carry on with me for the rest of my life. It’s always going to be a part of me.”

Leoni, who earned a double distinction in BTEC music at Blackpool Sixth Form, originally applied for a scholarship with the The British Academy of Songwriters Composers and Authors, but was offered the Freddie Mercury Scholarship instead.

She attended the Metropolis Studios in London where she performed a unique arrangement of Queen hit ‘The Show Must Go On’, with past scholarship winner Daisy Phillips. Brian May said “The girls are great and it’s a lovely fresh take on the song.

“Treating the choruses as part of the exposition, rather than as a mantra with block harmonies, makes the meaning come across in a subtly different way. I might try that myself when I next perform it!”