Crippled Hagley composer to host fundraising concert for paraplegic athletes (From Stourbridge News)
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Crippled Hagley composer to host fundraising concert for paraplegic athletes
3:33pm Friday 14th September 2012 in Local
AN internationally renowned Hagley composer confined to a wheelchair after a hospital blunder is hosting a world premiere concert next month to raise cash for paraplegic sports.
Andrew Downes, who has performed for the BBC and Royalty, is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust after medics at Russells Hall Hospital misdiagnosed his fractured spine as a urine infection - leaving him crippled.
But the critically acclaimed composer, who was admitted to hospital after a fall at home in October 2009, has continued composing despite his injury and he will debut his Concerto for French Horn and Symphony Orchestra on Sunday October 21 at Birmingham Town Hall.
The concert will mark the tenth year of the Central England Ensemble founded by Andrew’s violinist daughter Anna and will raise funds for the British Paraplegic Association.
Grandfather-of-three Andrew, aged 61, said: “The Paralympics highlights the extraordinary effect sport can have on people who use wheelchairs or are disabled in some way.
“Sport gives people courage, determination and purpose so I wanted to raise money for the British Paraplegic Association so they can continue to provide the facilities and support to help disabled people achieve remarkable success.
“I also hope the concert will remind people of Birmingham Town Hall's historic place at the heart of European classical music.”
The programme will include Walton’s Crown Imperial and Brahms’s Second Symphony and the soloist will be Ondřej Vrabec, solo and principal horn of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
Andrew, who suffered from inflammatory back pain and a fused spine for many years before his paralysis, enjoyed a highly sucessful career which saw him travel the world to attend performances of his compositions, perform for the BBC and in front of Royalty and produce 17 CDs.
But he now needs a lifetime of care to help him live as independently as possible.
Medical law expert Timothy Deeming, of Irwin Mitchell - which is sponsoring the concert, is helping Andrew in his battle for justice against the hospital trust that misdiagnosed him.
He said: “Andrew has shown incredible strength and resolution despite the disabilities he now faces as a result of the failures by Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.
“His commitment to music is on the same level of the Paralympics athletes to sport that we are currently seeing during the games and we are proud to sponsor the concert to help raise funds for the British Paraplegic Association which will help create our athletes of the future.”
More information about the concert and tickets can be found online at www.thsh.co.uk/event/central-england-ensemble-12