Olivia (16) and Matthew Hurst (14), who are members of the Lancashire Youth Brass Band and Lostock Hall Memorial Band, started their rounds on December 4th. Olivia, who is a pupil of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Sixth-Form, has played the cornet for seven years, while Matthew, who attends Ribblesdale High School, Clitheroe, has played the baritone for five years. The duo visited a total of 34 roads over a period of 21 days culminating in their last visit on Christmas Eve.
Before they were able to start, however, the talented musicians needed to adapt many of their planned carols due to the fact they were written for a five-piece band!
Borrowing donation buckets from their local lions club, they covered areas including Billington, Whalley, Langho, Barrow, Clitheroe and Blackburn, supported by their mum Cathryn, who accompanied them to each and every booking, all of which took place in a socially-distanced manner whilst adhering to local and government guidelines. And in fact when Matthew was forced to isolate for a period, Olivia soldiered on and did nine sessions on her own until Matthew was later able to rejoin her!
No strangers to supporting their local community, Olivia and Matthew also played at all 14 "clap for carer" events, which took place on a Thursday evening throughout last summer.
Proud mum, Cathryn, describes how the idea came about. She said: "Being in a Brass Band is a big part of Olivia and Matthew’s lives and ordinarily they have a very busy social
calendar attending band practice every other Saturday with the Lancashire Youth Brass Band, in Chorley, and rehearsing twice a week with the Lostock Hall Memorial Band. They regularly play at concerts, marching parades and walks and have really missed it this past year. Olivia said she didn’t want to do Christmas without playing carols, as it just wouldn’t be right! However, we had the idea to post something on Facebook to see if there was any interest for them to go out and about to play to the local community and we were overwhelmed by the response!”
Cathryn went onto explain: “People really got behind the idea with booking them and letting others in their street know when they had made a booking with us, so that everyone
could come out on the night and enjoy the event, join in whilst still being safe. Some people even printed and distributed hymn sheets and other made mulled wine, all socially-distanced
of course! One gentleman told us ‘we’ve been looking forward to this since we received the leaflet from our neighbour, checking the calendar and counting down the days as it was
something for us to look forward to!’. In Clitheroe they were even involved in two light switch-ons! The more they got going, the more they grew in confidence!”
Leanne Green, fundraiser for East Lancashire Hospice, said “What Olivia and Matthew have done is truly amazing. Not only have they raised the most incredible amount of money, which will enable our patients to make the most of life both here in the hospice and out in the local community, but they have brought joy to so many people in our community and lifted
their spirits at what was a very difficult time for most. We are incredibly grateful to Cathryn, Olivia and Matthew for dedicating their time to spreading the Christmas cheer and raising
what are much needed funds for East Lancashire Hospice”.
In recognition of their efforts, Whalley Lions awarded Olivia and Matthew with a certificate of achievement for Volunteering in their Community.