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Eric Pinkett, once resident of Barrow, celebrated with a Blue Plaque

On June 15th, BBC Music Day 2017 saw Radio 3, all 40 BBC Local Radio stations and the Asian Network in England team up with the British Plaque Trust to unveil 47 historic Blue Plaques celebrating iconic musicians and venues. One of those plaques celebrated Eric Pinkett, who lived until 1979 in “Falstaff”, the house overlooking Jerusalem roundabout in Barrow.

Eric Pinkett, OBE, nursed a lifelong love of music. Born in Nottinghamshire he went on to study violin at London's Royal Academy of Music and later taught music and games at Melton Mowbray Grammar School. Two years later, in 1948, he became Leicestershire's first music adviser. Mr. Pinkett immediately set about forming an orchestra. In the early days he snapped up instruments at bargain prices with his own money. He gradually built up a stock and they came into schools in considerable numbers for the first time ever.

He was also very involved in achieving subsidised, or free instrumental lessons, in Leicestershire state schools and soon there was a body of children who were ready to play together. So the County School of Music was born. His idea was that every child should eventually come to love music as a result of playing He worked unstintingly to earn international acclaim for the Leicestershire Schools' Symphony Orchestra. He was a man of tremendous stature who, almost entirely by his own effort, made Leicestershire the foremost education authority in the world of music. Mr. Pinkett’s passion and enthusiasm for music quickly brought the orchestra to a quality that encouraged such seasoned conductors as Malcolm Arnold, Sir Arthur Bliss and Sir Michael Tippett to direct the youngsters.

The presentation of the blue plaque took place in Church Langton Primary School, Leicester, which is where the LSSO first rehearsed. As the founder of the Leicestershire County School of Music and the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra, Eric (Mr. Music) inspired generations of young musicians.

Judith Rodgers