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May 6, 2003

EDUCATION AWARDS: Musical Matthew in line for award

From: Peterborough Evening Telegraph, UK - May 6, 2003

A CITY teenager, who has refused to let severe hearing problems get in the way of his love for music, has been nominated in this year's Education Awards.

Matthew Willbye, of Gladstone Street, likes nothing better than to sing and play the piano, even though he is now completely deaf in one ear and has only 15 per cent hearing in the other.

Matthew (14) is well-known at schools throughout the city after he performed at last year's awards, which are organised by The Evening Telegraph.

He bravely sang during the interval breaks at the awards ceremony, despite being watched by a huge audience at the city's Key Theatre.

Matthew, who has been nominated in the outstanding boy category, said: "This year, I have been commended at music festivals where I have competed against people who are older than me. I also got a grade two in piano from the Royal School of Music. It is great to be nominated."

The pupil who attends King's School, in Park Road, said he would also be willing to sing again at this year's awards.

Matthew, who was nominated by his father, Peter, could also scoop the arts award when the judges come to consider who makes the shortlist for the finals.

Mr Willbye said: "I nominated my son for all his achievements and for his singing. I think he is outstanding."

Mr Willbye said his son had also helped him raise a lot of money for the Chernobyl Children's Appeal ? the charity run by city couple Rosie and John Sandall.

However, Matthew will face stiff competition in the outstanding boy category from last year's winner Ricky Burns.
Ricky, who has a brain tumour which has left him blind, continues to enjoy school, despite his problems.

Donna Clunie, who teaches Ricky at St George's School, in Dogsthorpe, said: "Ricky brings happiness to the classroom and everyone around him. He is filled with so much love for life and has an excellent personality.

"Ricky is the school's angel."

2003 Johnston Press New Media.