Warwickshire ‘children’s champion’ bows out on a high note

Simon Grimshaw
Simon Grimshaw

One of the stalwarts of music education in Warwickshire will take his last encore when he steps down after 29 years.

Simon Grimshaw will leave the County Music Service at the end of next month after teaching music and inspiring thousands of youngsters .

Hailed by the music service as a “true children’s champion”, there is no job within it that he has not done, including stepping in as director when required, said colleagues.

In his current role as central area manager he has organised music lessons for thousands of children and has “created magical musical events for countless more through his energy, passion and drive” said the service.

Jeremy Dibb, director of service, said: “Simon is one of those unique colleagues who is totally committed to doing his very best for young people.

“His contribution to the County Music Service over such a long period is simply without comparison. He will be sorely missed but he leaves an inspirational legacy of music making behind him.”

Simon, aged 59, said he felt honoured by the praise from colleagues.

He said: “It’s been a marvellous experience over the years and it’s been a pleasure and a privilege working for the County Music Service.

“My memories will be of a really healthy, vibrant and forward-looking music service with hugely talented teachers, supported by an administrative team which are as passionate about music as everyone else. I wish everyone associated with the Warwickshire County Music Service the very best for the future.”

An accomplished trumpet and piano player, he started his musical teaching career in Northumberland and then took a job with the County Music Service, saying: “It was to spend more time playing and teaching music with young people.

“It’s given me tremendous satisfaction over the years to see young musicians develop.”

The County Music Service teaches children from the age of four and through to adulthood and Simon said teaching music can be a big help in the rest of a child’s school studies.

“There are lots of transferable skills from music. You have to listen to people, co-operate and work as a team, which all help in a child’s education.”

Simon, who lives in Stretton-on-Dunsmore with his wife Trish, and has two grown-up sons, also sings with the Leamington-based mixed-voice choir Divertimento.

“With retirement I’ll have more time playing and singing for my own pleasure,” he said.

Over the years Simon has played with the Leamington Chamber Orchestra, the Warwickshire Symphony Orchestra and the Beauchamp Sinfonietta.

He will run the BBC 10 Pieces Summer Festival Concert tomorrow (Friday) from 7pm at All Saints’ church, Leamington. Tickets are: adults £6.50 and children £4.50.

Featuring the Central Area Music Centre Ensembles of the County Music Service, it will include strings, orchestra, brass and big band and is part of a national initiative to inspire and familiarise young people with key pieces of the orchestral repertoire.