On 14th January 2018, I was delighted to be made a member of the Royal Society of Musicians. The RSM does incredible work, and I hope to play a part in the organization ongoing. Part of my speech focuses on issues which I rarely mention in my professional life:
As a person who has lived with a rare disability from birth, McArdle Disease, performing and being in the world of music generally has not been easy in many ways, though without music, I fear I would not be here today as it has been my passion and my energy. I have fought hard for many issues for myself, and others, not only musicians, I am involved with the Association of Glycogen Storage Diseases, I was an ISM Ambassador, and I realize what a great deal of help is needed by many. I mentor several musicians in my own way, and if now being part of this association means I can help even more, that is most positive.
Out of the blue and not associated with my McArdle’s disability, a rare glycogen storage disorder, In 2016 I lost the sight in my right eye as I played Vaughan Williams in a Prom… Until late 2017, I had many operations to try and restore the sight, and was really hopeful things would turn out differently, but they did not, and when I was at my lowest, and could not perform, drive, or actually do too much for myself, I was helped in a small but most important way by this Society. For me, it was the fact that someone, in fact, my kind friend Karen Vaughan, would even think to ask this society to help me, was one of the most touching things ever. I vowed then that if this Society accepted me as a member, I would most definitely do whatever I could to play my part in the continuation of the great work which is carried out by the Royal Society of Musicians.