THE founder of a Leigh-based music education charity could be given the freedom of the city.
David Stanley BEM is the founder and CEO of the Music Man Project, a multi award-winning international music education service for people with disabilities.
Mr Stanley set up the project in 2000, and has since gone on to teach hundreds of pupils, seeing them sing in venues across the world including the Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium, as well as performing for ITV Britain’s Got Talent.
He could now be given Freedom of the City of Southend, after a nomination to the council was made, in recognition of Mr Stanley’s inspiring work.
For over 20 years, he has championed the education and wellbeing of all his students, and has raised the profile and importance of music education for people with special educational needs and disabilities across the globe.
He said: “Learning that someone has nominated me to have Freedom of the City in Southend is completely overwhelming.
“I love Southend and I love the people, particularly those who have disabilities, their families, carers and charities who support them.
“This community has been part of my life for nearly 25 years, and I would share the honour with the exceptional students from the original Music Man Project in Southend who inspire and motivate me every day.”
The late Sir David Amess MP was a great champion of The Music Man Project for more than a decade, before becoming its president.
The music group shared a strong connection with the Southend West MP, and sang at this funeral, following his tragic death in October 2021.
Mr Stanley added that this Freedom of the City would be even more meaningful due to his friendship with Sir David, and the importance that the late MP placed on both the project, and Southend becoming a city.
He said: “Receiving the honour would be especially meaningful because my friend and supporter, Sir David Amess, was granted Freedom of Southend posthumously as the first ever recipient.
“Sir David was always so proud of our achievements, and he was our biggest champion.
“The Music Man Project has received lots of recognition over the past couple of years, but this nomination is about Southend.
“I have always been proud to promote this City, from the students I have taught at The Music Man Project and local Specials Schools to the incredible people and organisations who have helped me along the way.”
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