Music trust helps people remember Rosa Simon’s life - and not her death - says father

Hadleigh Community Choir singers at their Christmas concert 2015, including the junior section which

Hadleigh Community Choir singers at their Christmas concert 2015, including the junior section which was set up thanks to funding from the Rosa Simon Music Fund - Credit: Archant

Everyone has some association with music, whether it be simply listening to the radio or spending your evenings rehearsing with a choir, orchestra or band.

rosa simon

rosa simon - Credit: Archant

For many people it is your childhood years which influence what you listen to and how heavily involved you get in performing or listening to it.

Rosa Simon loved music and the fund set up in her name aims to give other youngsters the chance to grow their own passion for it.

Rosa was just three-years-old when she died after being hit by a car outside the family home in Hadleigh while playing. The terrible accident touched everyone in the picturesque market town which rallied round to support her grieving family.

In her memory the Rosa Simon Music Fund was set up in June 2014 and just 18 months later has raised more than £18,000.

Paul Simon explains how important the community of Hadleigh was after the death of his daughter Rosa

Paul Simon explains how important the community of Hadleigh was after the death of his daughter Rosa in the town. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

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It’s mission is to bring the same joy Rosa experienced through music to as many children in the area as possible by donating money to schools, individuals and community groups to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get involved in something musical.

It is also a lasting memorial to Paul Simon’s daughter.

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“The most important thing for me is that if people recall Rosa, they do so for her life and not her death,” Mr Simon, one of the fund’s trustees, said.

“The work that Rosa’s Fund has been able to support can in its small way help to transform young lives by giving children and younger adults the fullest chances possible to express themselves through music.

“That for me reflects Rosa’s own love of singing, dancing and making music.”

The money given out by the fund has come in chunks ranging from £100 to more than £1,000, while its resources have come from both private and company donations.

Mr Simon added: “We are so grateful to not only the kind individual and corporate donors to Rosa’s Fund, but to the countless volunteers who have ensured that each event supported by us has been run to the maximum benefit of the children and young people taking part.

“Rosa’s legacy lives in the enduring strength of the community’s support for the fund set up in her name.”

While currently focusing on Hadleigh there are ambitions for the fund to expand in the future.

“We are applying to become a charity and plan to widen the geographical focus of Rosa’s Fund to encompass the whole of Suffolk,” Mr Simon said. “That means even more children and young people will have the chance to reach their full musical potential.”

Karen Harman is also a trustee of the fund and said she has been delighted at the community’s response to it.

“It’s much more positive than I originally thought and we believe that we will be able to go on supporting applications throughout next year and hopefully well into the future,” she said. “Next year’s calendar is not crystal clear although we are developing links with Hadleigh High School, looking forward to hearing more from the Hadleigh junior choir and will hold a second Rosa Simon Concert in early June.

“I believe it is not the obvious legacy (learning an instrument, developing musical skill) that matters most, it is that young people take the chance to experience all the other things that go with the performing arts – working in a team, persevering, aiming really high, listening, taking risks and standing tall.

“Because that is what Rosa stands for, the wonder of being part of something almost magical. And that is the magic Rosa leaves us.”

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