Award is music to Avis’s ears

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A Billesdon octogenarian who has dedicated her life to sharing her love of music with hundreds of others over the past 60 years has been recognised with a national honour.

Avis Fawcitt, of Billesdon, has been given a British Citizen Award for her services to the community.

The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. They are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise by overlooked.

Miss Fawcitt (87) has dedicated her life to helping and inspiring people to achieve their potential and fulfil their ambitions in the field of music and beyond.

After starting her career as a music teacher in 1953, at South Wigston Secondary Modern School for Girls, Miss Fawcitt established an orchestra to ensure young people were given the chance to practice music – whatever their background.

In 1957, along with her friend, Betty, who is now deceased, Miss Fawcitt, started the Leicester Orphean Youth Orchestra – a group that is still going strong today.

A spokesman for the awards said: “Miss Fawcitt has the unique ability to recognise musical talent in young children, especially if they had previously been branded ‘unruly’, overlooked or left behind.

“Her ethos ensured that no child who wished to play was ever turned away, no matter what their background – even providing transport to and from rehearsals and instruments for children who would have otherwise found it difficult to participate, all at her own expense.”

By playing numerous fundraising concerts, the orchestra has raised more than £150,000 for local and national charities since its beginnings.

Although she retired from her teaching role as head of music at Hamilton High School in 1985, Miss Fawcitt still continues to teach on a voluntary basis and is still heavily involved with the Orphean Youth Orchestra, which now has members ranging in age from five to 60 and over.