Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Businessman gives £5k to ‘Happy Valley’

A MUSIC room is set to be built at a Henley school thanks to a £5,000 donation from a businessman.

A MUSIC room is set to be built at a Henley school thanks to a £5,000 donation from a businessman.

Davy Snowdon, founder and managing director of Pristine Condition, a health and safety training company based in Northfield End, said he wanted to encourage budding musicians at Valley Road Primary School.

Parents and governors had already raised £15,000 towards the project which is estimated to cost £40,000. It is hope the rest will come from grants and more fund-raising events.

The classroom, which will be known as “the Happy Valley Room”, will be built on a disused piece of land at the school and will also be used for one-to-one lessons which currently take place in hallways or the staff room.

Mr Snowdon, who also sponsors the Henley Symphony Orchestra, which rehearses at the school, said: “In today’s age of budget cuts, there’s an increasing need for funding and donations to support the local community. When I first heard of this I thought it was a great opportunity not only to provide a much-needed music room for the kids to enjoy but also encourage budding musicians.”

The room will also be available to the community to use during non-school hours.

Headteacher Tim Coulson said: “School budgets are really stretched at the moment so any building work we want to get done has to come from fund-raising. We used to get £30,000 a year for buildings and now we only get £6,000.

“What we can do thanks to the generosity of this donation is provide a space for pupils that makes a difference.”

Fund-raising events have included a rock concert, acoustic music nights, a camping weekend and a jazz music event at the Kenton Theatre organised by Henley Rotary Club.

These have been led by Kerry Emanuel whose children Luca, 10, and Ottilie, seven, play the piano.

Mrs Emanuel, of Greys Road, Henley, said: “We want to thank Davy for getting involved and taking an interest in our project and for his time and generosity.

“Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills.

“Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to improve in all their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school and pursue further education.”

She said it was hoped the classroom would be built over the summer holidays in order to be ready for the new school year in September.

To make a donation, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/happyvalleyroom

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