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Ann Simcock, Chetham's 1990-1999

Mother of Gwilym Simcock

My name is Ann Simcock and our son, Gwilym, attended Chetham’s for 9 years in the 1990s. Although not a chorister he was a day pupil until the 6th form. He studied piano, French horn and composition, and gained the highest mark in the country at grade 8 on piano and French horn when he was 12 and 13.

Over the time there are so many memories, all the wonderful concerts both in school and outside all round the country. The concert tours in the south of England when I accompanied the staff as a helper. Events with Chetham’s Association when I was on the committee, showing prospective parents various aspects of the school, and when the Manchester bomb went off on such a day. The exhibition which Mrs Crowther and myself helped to mount. The other bomb at the Ramada and trying to get through to school when I heard the news on the radio as I was in the kitchen making a cake, wondering if Gwilym was alright.

Special events at the Cathedral for Christmas and the pupils in traditional costume for Founder’s Day.

All the lovely people we came into contact with, teaching staff, support staff and other parents. It would be wrong to pick out anyone in particular, but I must mention David Chatterton and Stephen Threlfall. Mr Vallins standing on the car park smoking his pipe. Mr Hatfield, who was a wonderful educator and taught Gwilym so much, and memories of Mr MacFarlane as he was always there at concerts to rearrange the stage between items. The sad death of David Hartigan, Gwilym’s piano teacher, which had a deep effect on Gwilym. This event actually changed the path which Gwilym’s musical career was to take. Gwilym’s year as Head Boy. All the wonderful friends Gwilym made at his time there and they are still in touch and all share a very special bond which I am sure is not found in any other school.

Being made to feel part of the school as I picked Gwilym up each day.
These memories are just the tip of the iceberg of special memories of Gwilym’s time there, from a parent’s point of view.
Gwilym still is part of the school and is very proud of his time at the school. He refers to his time there frequently, most recently on Jazz Line Up on Radio 3 which devoted a whole programme to his arrangement of Debussy’s Children’s Corner and to his own compositions inspired by Debussy.

Instruments: Parent

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