A Taunton School musician who raised thousands of pounds for charities working in Ukraine has received a prestigious county award.
Music scholar Anthony Knight, 16, played violin recitals at 27 churches across Somerset, raising more than £6,094 for the Ukraine Appeal, run by the UK’s Disasters and Emergencies Committee.
Now, Anthony has been given a top regional award – which recognises an outstanding contribution to the community – by the High Sheriff of Somerset, Jennifer Duke.
“The combination of Anthony’s incredible musicianship and his dedication to supporting people in need was such a positive and creative response to terrible injustice,” said Toby Carden, Director of Music at Taunton School.
“We are immensely proud of Anthony’s achievements. As a young person he showed that we can all make a positive difference to our society and the world.”
Anthony, from Minehead, began offering to play 15 minutes of Bach at the end of Anglican church services after he was moved by the plight of the Ukrainian refugees.
“I wanted to help them out in some way,” said Anthony. “I figured that I couldn’t fly over there and help them on the border, so I thought I would use my talents to help them out through raising money.
“It has been a wonderful experience travelling around Somerset and meeting lots of interesting people. Everyone has been so generous.”
Anthony is studying A-level music at Taunton School and leads the school’s Symphony Orchestra and a string quartet. He was also winner of the Taunton Young Musician of the Year in 2022.
A review of one of Anthony’s performances in the Exford Parish News spoke of “a most moving 15 minutes of pure joy and talent.”
Music plays a crucial role in the daily life of Taunton School. With a large range of orchestras, bands and ensembles, the school enjoys a reputation for excellence in music. Current students also perform with national and county choirs, orchestras and bands.
Taunton School Headmaster, James Johnson, said: “We are so pleased for Anthony winning this award. It is a real honour for him – and well deserved.
“This is a great example of how creative talent, hard work and the desire to make a difference can come together to make a real impact in the community.”