Dame Joan Bakewell, was born and educated in Stockport. She is one of the country’s foremost journalists and broadcasters and was awarded a life peerage in 2010. She has a special interest in the arts and the elderly, and said:
“I am delighted to give High Peak Community Arts my support. Their work is so thoroughly worthwhile and their zeal for their projects exactly what is needed. I hope they go from strength to strength.”
Dawn Bryan, one of our Trustees said:
“We are delighted to have such a patron. It is a real boost to all our workers and those who continue to benefit from our projects. It’s a lovely way to celebrate our first 35 years and we are very grateful to Dame Joan for her support and encouragement”
A small group of participants, staff and trustees met Joan on 24th July in Buxton to tell her more about our work.
Thirteen year old Georgia Tyler from Fairfield talked to Dame Joan about some of the writing and art work she had been doing as part of the Tall Tales project and the Young Writers’ Camp she had attended.
Gillian Ayre from Glossop also spoke to Dame Joan about the work she has done with the organisation. She is their longest standing participant and started with a creative writing project for adults in which they created a book: “Me, with No Imagination” in 1992.
She showed Dame Joan some of her writing, including a piece she had composed about a trip to Alaska in which she wrote. ‘I’m struck by the silence of this huge and remote place, a place few have seen from the air. All of this achieved despite the wheelchair, which seemed to be an extended part of me’.
“The meeting with Joan Bakewell was terrific. I felt completely at ease with her and I felt that she was really interested in what we were doing. She was really very encouraging and a wonderful person”
She also added:
“The High Peak Community Arts classes like Project eARTh are so very important to people like me. Everyone is treated the same in these classes, we learn so much and make good friends.”
High Peak Community Arts staff Alison Bowry and Sophie Mackreth said the meeting with Dame Joan had been a real boost for the organisation.
Chair of trustees, Ann Lyon, said:
“We are delighted by the continuing support of Dame Joan Bakewell and enjoyed updating her on current and future activities at the meeting in Buxton. We are hoping that others will join Joan in supporting High Peak Community Arts and the valuable work they do.”
Bella Hardy is a contemporary musician, singer and songwriter from Edale in Derbyshire, UK, who performs a combination of traditional and self-penned material. She was named Folk Singer of the Year at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, having previously won the award for Best Original Song in 2012 for “The Herring Girl”.
At age 13, Bella began performing at UK festivals, and in 2004 reached the final of the BBC Young Folk Award, having taught herself to fiddle-sing. Following a BA in English Literature and a Masters degree in Music, Bella released her debut album Night Visiting in 2007. Since then, she has released seven solo albums and a number of collaborative CDs, been nominated for five BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and America’s Folk Alliance Best International Album Award, toured support for grammy award winner Mary Chapin Carpenter, been selected as an official showcase artist for WOMEX, appeared across national radio and television in the UK, and toured around the world.
“We are delighted to have Bella on board as an Ambassador for our work. She is a fantastic role model for other young people in the High Peak, who are interested in Music” (Alison Bowry, Creative Programme Manager)
High Peak Community Arts are delighted to welcome as Ambassador – the renowned Derbyshire poet (and ex-Derbyshire Poet Laureate) – Helen Mort.
Helen is a five-times winner of the Foyle Young Poets award, received an Eric Gregory Award from The Society of Authors in 2007, and won the Manchester Poetry Prize Young Writer Prize in 2008. Described by The Telegraph as “the rising star of British poetry”, Helen is currently a guest lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Lauded by Carol Ann Duffy as “among the brightest stars in the sparkling constellation of young British poets,” Helen was born in Sheffield in 1985 and brought up in Chesterfield. A child of the miners’ strikes, Helen grew up with a state education and a father who read her Wilfred Owen. Helen was the first in her family, and her school, to go to Oxbridge. She read Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge.
The landscapes of Sheffield, Oldham and the Peak District are anchoring points in Mort’s poems. She writes about the houses, chip shops and streets of her childhood, as well as the mystical hills and moors she grew up in. Helen is still a prolific runner and walker, and credits the landscape of the Peak District as her inspiration for many of her current works.
There is a wildness and a freedom in much of her poetry. “I feel truly alive when I’m outdoors, when I’m climbing or running,” she says. “When you get moments in running where everything’s going well, there’s a kind of clarity to it. Climbing’s the same – or perhaps even more amplified. I like to think of climbs as a set of instructions for the body that you have to interpret, and they only make sense when you do it. So a climb can’t be paraphrased, it can only be done. And there’s an affinity with poetry because a poem’s a bit like a set of instructions to the reader. You can’t paraphrase a poem. You can only write it or read it.”
Of her new role as Ambassador for High Peak Community Arts, Helen states:
“As a Derbyshire writer inspired by the county’s varied landscape and rich heritage, I admire and value the work charities like High Peak Arts do to make people aware of how art and place intersect and to support local artists. The High Peak is a rare, unique part of the world and it will always be at the heart of my poetry. We need to celebrate Derbyshire’s artistic life however we can.”
‘Dear Alison’ is a poem featured in Helen Mort’s anthology No Map Could Show Them – a collection of poems centring on women making their mark and forging their own paths throughout history, both in the wilderness and in modern urban life.
We are delighted to announce that the international composer and pianist, George King, has joined High Peak Community Arts as one of our Ambassadors!
George King is one of the most versatile pianist/composers working today. He has won numerous international awards for his classical compositions. His concert repertoire stretches from the Pre-Baroque era through to the modern classics of the 21st Century. His performances have taken him to the most prestigious venues in the world, including The Carnegie Hall and The Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
As a performer, George has broadcast live on television and radio and performed in festivals all over the world. These include Glastonbury, Celtic Connections (UK), the Abu Dhabi jazz festival and WOMAD.
George is also in high demand as a jazz pianist. He regularly plays with the Andy Prior and Syd Lawrence big bands and also specialises in free improvisation and more experimental work. A solo piano free improvisation concert by George was released on ASC records in 2011 (entitled ‘Into the light’). George has also appeared on jazz inspired albums with Jon Thorne (‘Watching the Well’ on Naim Records) and Jah Wobble (‘7’ on 30 Hertz Records). He also works with many of the UK’s leading orchestras including the Halle and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recent projects include a joint commission from the Manchester Jazz Festival and Manchester Camerata (‘Songs of the Caged Bird’) and an album of 21st Century piano works for Odradek Records (‘Jubilees’) which has been praised in the national and international press.
In July 2018, George performed a concert for High Peak Community Arts at the URC Church in Buxton. The audience was treated to a selection of pieces all taken from the worlds of musical theatre, jazz and classical music.
Speaking about his new role, George says “I am honoured to become an Ambassador for High Peak Community Arts. I think the work that goes into helping people through art, and particularly music, is invaluable and can help those that need it greatly”
For more information on George and his current work, please visit his website: