Sheffield festival fundraising in memory of organiser helps young musicians

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Organisers of Stocksbridge-based Valley Music Festival have doubled their awards to help young people with their music tuition from four to eight.

The doubling of the scholarships follows a huge response to a JustGiving appeal which ran in tandem with a virtual event on YouTube when the lockdown halted plans for an expanded festival in the summer.

Many people donated in tribute to Steve Osborn, who died aged 65 after a short illness on the day of the virtual festival. Steve was one of the driving forces for the festival, working with wife Hilary.

Performers of all ages take part in the Valley Music Festival to raise money to support young talent
Performers of all ages take part in the Valley Music Festival to raise money to support young talent

The JustGiving appeal raised £4,250, more than double the target figure, and means eight young people have received £250 each for music lessons.

The Dransfield Foundation, the charitable arm of Fox Valley shopping centre owner Dransfield Properties, contributed to the fund.

Singers receiving scholarships are Karina Butterly, Olivia Froggatt and Charlie Taylor – all at Stocksbridge High School – Freja Hirst and Rhona Hirst at UTC, Sheffield, and Emily Tomlinson at Bradfield.

The late Steve Osborn, who was a driving force behind the Valley Music Festival

Alice Stavert-Dobson, of Stocksbridge High, is having piano lessons and fellow pupil Cailean Simpson will have guitar lessons.

Festival director Hilary Osborn said: “Our family have been so comforted by the money raised in Steve’s name.

“He was a very humble, caring man who would have been amazed at people’s response and so pleased to have been able to support so many young people on their musical journeys, especially during these difficult times.”

It is unclear if any live festival events will be possible next year, but as more than 1,600 people watched the virtual festival, organisers hope to put on another online event.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

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