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Hockerill teacher passes eight music exams in a day in memory of friends' baby

A Bishop’s Stortford music teacher has raised almost £4,500 for Petals, the baby loss counselling charity, in memory of her friend’s stillborn son.

Amy Morrow-Plant, 29, who teaches students at Hockerill Anglo-European College how to play the clarinet, took on eight music exams in a single day, from grades one to eight, all on different instruments.

For the challenge – dubbed the Grade8athon – Amy learned and memorised 184 scales and arpeggios, learned and performed 24 pieces of music, performed eight pieces that she had never seen before and took part in eight aural tests.

Amy Morrow-Plant (15223390)
Amy Morrow-Plant (15223390)

The mum-of-one chose a mixture of string, brass, woodwind and keyboard instruments, some of which she had to learn from scratch.

"I had no experience of four of the eight instruments prior to this challenge and hadn’t performed publicly on my own on six of them, so it was certainly challenging," Amy said. "I thought that stamina would be my biggest hurdle on the day, but I managed to play through all of it without thinking of my lip going."

Now, four weeks after having completed the task, Amy has received confirmation from the ABRSM, the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music, that she passed all eight exams – six with distinction and two merits.

Amy, who attended Herts and Essex High School before going on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, was inspired to do this after her National Childbirth Trust antenatal class friends Louise and Andrew Judd lost one of their twins, Noah, at 28 weeks’ pregnant. Louise gave birth to Noah as well as his surviving sister Esme at 37 weeks.

"After seeing what Louise and Andrew went through, I really wanted to do something different and challenging to raise money in Noah’s memory,” said Amy.

"I’m so overwhelmed with the generosity of friends, family and even more so strangers. My original target was £500 and I thought I would struggle to reach that. Petals are going to use the money to help keep their Harlow service going.

"They said that the original funds provided for this service are diminishing fast, so this will be a really valuable boost and will secure the service for at least a further six months."

Cambridge-based Petals chief executive and founder Karen Burgess said: "I’m often in awe of the incredible challenges our supporters take on to raise funds for Petals – this is definitely one of those occasions.

"I attended Amy’s recent concert where she was able to showcase her achievements so far. This demonstrated to me her personal investment and commitment to supporting her friends through this fundraising project.

"We’re so grateful to Amy and really hope the public will get behind her and show their appreciation of Amy’s talent, by giving generously to our unique and very special charity."

To add to Amy’s fundraising total, visit her online donation page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amy-morrow-grade8athon.

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