Prime Minister David Cameron recognises Swaledale Festival with Big Society award

Darlington and Stockton Times: BIG SOCIETY: Jill Eagle, Rosi Keatinge, Michael Thomson, Malcolm Creese,  Gary Hammond and Sam Pirt with children who took part. BIG SOCIETY: Jill Eagle, Rosi Keatinge, Michael Thomson, Malcolm Creese, Gary Hammond and Sam Pirt with children who took part.

A MUSIC and arts festival has been recognised by David Cameron with a Big Society Award for its work - including a Percussion Project involving 100 children from Richmondshire primary schools.

The Swaledale Festival, based in venues across Swaledale and Wensleydale, enjoyed a record-breaking year with the best ticket sales in its 42-year history.

The announcement comes as the two-week community arts festival celebrates the close of its 2014 programme which included music from local and international artists, guided walks, talks and theatre productions.

The Swaledale Festival Percussion Project involved 100 children from Arkengarthdale, Gunnerside, Le Cateau, Reeth and Wavell primary schools working with a local woodwork experts to make instruments while learning technical, manual and communication skills as well as learning about local heritage.

The five-month project ended in March with all the children performing with professional Samba band Forro Porro to a sell-out audience in the Influence Church, Richmond, playing the instruments they had helped to make.

And this year Swaledale Festival organisers arranged for visiting international musicians to perform concerts in fourteen local care homes for residents who were unable to get to festival events.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: ?The Swaledale Festival?s innovative projects to bring performers into care homes and sheltered housing, and to educate and inspire local young people throughout the year put world-class arts at the heart of the community.

?I?m delighted to recognise everyone involved with this Big Society award.?

Festival director Malcolm Creese said: ?Winning a Big Society Award means an enormous amount to the team at Swaledale Festival, and to all the people who made the Percussion Project such a memorable event."

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