An Aberdeenshire mum who took her music lessons for children with disabilities online during lockdown has had her efforts rewarded with a bespoke bench in her honour.
Debra Kirkness, 54, is one of 13 “unsung champions” being recognised by the National Lottery for their work in supporting the most vulnerable in their communities during the pandemic.
Ms Kirkness, founder of Aberdeen-based charity Music 4 U, had to close its doors in March but was determined not to abandon the youngsters with physical and learning disabilities which it supports.
The Newburgh mum-of-two said: “We were busy as normal in Aberdeen Arts Centre, where we have residency, when lockdown was announced.
“But by the following week, we had transferred everything online.
“We adapted all the creative work to keep everything going, four times a week plus online concerts, interviews and quizzes.
“The parents flooded us with grateful comments all the time. Having that structure taken away, particularly for those on the spectrum, is hard, as they need to follow timetables and need stability. This gave them that.”
For those efforts, she’s been chosen as to receive one of 13 bespoke benches, designed by Jay Blades, of the BBC’s Repair Shop fame. The seating has now been placed outside the arts centre.
She added: “I love what I do, I’m passionate about it and it’s a labour of love. To be recognised like this, I can’t really find words.”