AGED just 17, Tasha Covill has composed an award-winning piece of music.

The student at the Cherwell School, in North Oxford, has won the Dan Hemingway Memorial Award, receiving £350.

She was given the art prize on Thursday for her suite of music for piano and orchestra titled The Magic Box.

The prize is given every year to one of the school’s sixth formers in memory of former student Dan Hemingway, who died aged 19 in 1991 after being knocked down while cycling along the A40 on Christmas morning.

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The aspiring writer had left the school less than two years before he died.

One of the prize judges is his mother Sue, along with star of The Goodies, Graeme Garden, and musician and producer Miles Waters.

Tasha, from Summertown, beat 18 other entrants who submitted their own creative projects, including dance, art, writing and film.

She said: “I was composing it as a hobby in my spare time and I thought I would enter it in the competition.

“I saw last year’s winner getting it and thought it was worth a shot.”

It took her three months to compose the piece alongside her music, history and English literature A-Levels.

She said: “It’s a bit jazzy, which is unusual for an orchestra. I was just messing about with a melody on my piano.

“I based it on Brahms so there are lots of Romantic elements.”

In previous years the award has been made in May, but the school decided to move it to the winter to avoid clashing with students’ exams.

Mrs Hemingway, 65, who runs the Hemingway/Art gallery in Pound Lane, Cassington, said: “Tasha gave us a fantastic piece. For a person her age to write something like that is quite amazing.

“We were listening to it on a computer, which didn’t do it justice. If a real orchestra got hold of it, it would be amazing.

“It was a very mature piece.”

Speaking about her son, who had finished one term at St Andrew’s University in Scotland, she said: “We decided that we wanted to do something that was positive out of what was a tragedy and keep Dan’s name alive with everybody.

“Every year we see so many different things, it’s wonderful.

“We get dance, film, paintings, sculptures, writing, music, all sorts.”

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