Austistic Melton teenager recognised for his music talent

An autistic Melton teenager will find out this evening (Tuesday) if he has won a prestigious award for his skills as a musician.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 3:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 3:52 pm
Talented musician Thomas Corden at the organ EMN-201117-153731001

Thomas Corden (18) has been shortlisted for the Young Artist of the Year category in the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire’s annual awards scheme.

A former pupil at Melton’s Birch Wood Area Special School, he suffered with severe autism from birth and struggled with all aspects of life.

Thomas has moderate learning difficulties and has had issues with speech and language but discovering his talent for music has given him a new-found confidence.

Melton teenager Thomas Corden, who is a finalist in the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire's Awards for 2020, pictured during a piano performance EMN-201117-152818001

Five years ago, he started piano lessons before passing several exams with high marks and going on to raise money for chairities by performing a number of local concerts.

Thomas plays the piano and church organ at the Sunday services for United Reformed Church in Melton and he is currently working virtually every week with the Old Dalby Singers choir to produce some Christmas carols for people to watch online.

His proud mum, Louise, told the Melton Times: “I was asked to nominate him by the chairman of Melton Mencap, as she watched Thomas playing the keyboard for their Christmas family day, as he has done for a few years now.

“Throughout lockdown, to keep a positive mind and to continue in his efforts to work hard, I helped Thomas set up his own You Tube channel, so that he can share his videos with friends and family to give them something to make them feel happy.

“He struggles with his confidence, social skills and some life skills, but he really loves music.”

The family has already seen a great improvement in Thomas’ confidence and ability to socialise through his music career.

He now attends RNIB/Sense College, to improve his lifeskills, and Loughborough College, for a music practitioners course.

Thomas has decided that he would like a career in music and works extremely hard on a daily basis.

Mum Louise added: “He is always smiling - his hard work and music talent is recognised and appreciated by his school, his choir and the charities he has performed for.

“We, as a family, are extremely proud of Thomas because of his commitment to work hard in playing the piano and church organ.

“People love listening to his music and it is wonderful to hear the praise that they give to him.”

Every year, the Lord-Lieutenant’s award scheme recognises the efforts and successes of 13-to-19 year-olds across the county.

A total of 57 nominations were received for the four categories with four entrants shortlisted for each.

All finalists receive a framed certificate together with a prize, category winner also get a prize to the value of £500 and the overall Young Person of the Year will be presented with a special trophy.

Finalists and their parents are usually invited to a formal awards evening and dinner in April but an alternative socially distanced event wilkl take place tonight instead.

Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Michael Kapur OBE, said: “As a result of Covid-19 I had to postpone our special ‘red carpet’ awards evening and dinner originally planned for April.

“However, I am pleased to announce we will be holding a virtual event for our finalists.

“Ahead of the event, I have been sharing some of our finalists’ achievements via my twitter account, to demonstrate how the young people of Leicester and Leicestershire continue to astound me with their creativity, strength of spirit and selflessness.”

He added: “I hope that the positivity and enthusiasm that shines through in their personal stories brightens your day and inspires more young people to follow their passions and encourages our local communities to continue to nurture and support the incredible young people in their midst.

“When you see the high standards of our finalists, you can appreciate how it makes my job of deciding who should receive the overall Young Person of the Year award that much harder, and long may that remain the case.”

Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=lChfZrFHePY to watch an online stream of tonight’s awards from 7pm.

For Thomas’s You Tube channel, ItsTCThePianoman, go to www.youtube.com/channel/UCODxwy2M4hTagwdkhr7UH0g/videos to see him play.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire 2020 finalists:

YOUNG ARTIST OF THE YEAR

David Knight, aged 18, is from Lutterworth.

Isaac Hurst is 13 years old and attends the Wigston Academy.

Thomas Corden is 18 and from Melton Mowbray.

Zaahidah Ifarm is 15 years old from Leicester and attends the City of Leicester College.

YOUNG BRAVEHEART OF THE YEAR

Gary Concepcion is 18 years old and lives in Leicester.

Isse Abdullahi is 14, lives in Leicester and attends Crown Hills Community College.

James Rimmer is 14 years old and lives in Groby, Leicestershire.

Tyler Hodgkinson is 16 years old and lives in Coalville and attends King Edward VII High School in Coalville.

YOUNG LEADER OF THE YEAR

Hanniya Kamran is 18 and comes from Leicester.

Kiera McCourt is 17 years old, from Kirby Muxloe and attends Groby Brookvale Academy.

Lauren Duguid is 18 and lives in Fleckney.

Madiha Ussen is 15 years old, from Leicester and attends Moat Community College

YOUNG VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Eleanor Wilkinson is 18 years old and lives in Syston.

Kristian Brocksopp, 17, lives in Ratcliffe on the Wreake and attends Ratcliffe College.

Molly Adams is 18 and lives in Wigston.

Molly Cooper is 17 years old, lives in Birstall and attends Loughborough College.