Top music award for Morpeth girl

A TEENAGE music maestro from Morpeth can continue to hit the high notes after she was given a prestigious music scholarship.

Laura Attwood, 18, is the second person to win the Eileen Bowler award worth 250.

The King Edward VI School pupil from Hartburn will use the money to pay for cello lessons. She has just completed Grade 8 for the instrument and is working towards a diploma.

"I was paying for my own singing lessons, while my parents paid for cello lessons, but I would have had to give up the singing lessons because I couldn't afford the costs," she said. "Now my parents can pay for the singing as the cello costs are covered and I can continue with both."

Laura is studying Music along with Maths, Further Maths and Economics and hopes to do a joint honours Music and Maths degree at university.

"I think I was chosen because I play in a number of the school's music groups including the choir and chamber choir, ceilidh band, orchestra and the string quartet and also a community jazz band."

The dedicated musician also plays the piano and bass guitar for a Christian rock band called Re-born. The five-piece group played at the Ox-Jam charity event last year at KEVI and perform at churches and other community venues across North Northumberland.

"I really enjoy being in the band and it's a fun way to put our message across to people," she added.

The funding for the annual award comes from the will of Dr Bowler, former County councillor for Morpeth North and Governor at the school. She died in August 2005 aged 76 after a long struggle with ill health.

The former teacher, who had a strong passion for education, set aside money for the school and after discussions between KEVI's Head of Music Robin Forbes and the Morpeth Music Society, it was agreed that establishing the scholarship for a selected student was the best way to use it.

Mr Forbes explained why Laura was chosen. "She is a very committed musician who plays with great maturity and sensitivity and is involved with every single music group at the school," he said.

"By giving her this scholarship, we hope it will help her in her music career and it's also a good thing for Laura to say she has an award for her considerable efforts."

As part of the scholarship, she will play a solo recital at the Society's AGM and she will also play a prominent role in a KEVI music tour to Austria in July where it is hoped she will perform an unaccompanied Bach piece on the cello.