A NEW award to recognise musical excellence has been awarded to 11-year-old Amelia Crossley, from Port Erin.
Amelia won the Alan Pickard Bursary after achieving the highest mark in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) piano exam, for grades six to eight.
She is the first recipient of the bursary awarded to this grade, while another bursary, for grades one to five, went to Castletown resident Fraser Rowe.
The bursaries were established in memory of the renowned island musician who died in 2011.
Alan devoted his life to music. He was a teacher at Castle Rushen High School, music adviser to the Department of Education for 17 years, ran the International Music Festival in the island for many years, forging connections with countries throughout the world in the process, and was involved with various groups such as the Manx Girls’ Choir and Manx Youth Choir.
In his retirement, Alan continued to be an international examiner for the ABRSM, travelling widely in this role.
He and his wife Avril were also the local representatives for ABRSM, co-ordinating examinations and arranging regular high scorers concerts at the Music Centre in Lord Street, Douglas. Avril continues in this role today.
In 2008, he received a special award for his 30 years’ service to music in the island.
His will revealed his wish was that, each year in his memory, an award would be made to an Isle of Man music student made through the ABRSM to the candidate who took their practical examination at the centre and achieved the highest mark in any of the three sessions held each year.
The generosity of the Manx public means the bursary fund now stands at a fabulous £14,600.
The highest mark in grades one to five receives £75 and the highest mark achieved in the advanced grades six to eight receives £150.
It is estimated that the awards will continue for at least the next 37 years.
Amelia has been taught by piano teacher Judith Christian since the age of three. Judith was especially delighted that one of her pupils became the first winner of the bursary, as she had been a close friend and colleague of Alan’s for more than 40 years.
Amelia’s mother, Ruth, also knew Alan very well, and worked closely with him in several choirs, learning much from his enthusiasm and love of music.
Avril said, given the grades for which the bursaries are granted, recipients are likely to be children, which chimes with Alan’s commitment to inspiring young people. She added: ‘I am delighted that Alan’s memory lives on.’