A WELL-KNOWN conductor of the St John’s Orchestra was nominated by an Oxfordshire charity in this year’s Local Business Charity Awards.

The founder and conductor of Oxford-based chamber orchestra John Lubbock is not only a musician recognised with an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music, but also a devoted supporter of numerous charities supporting children with autism, people with dementia and others.

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Among the organisations he supports is Clear Sky, which nominated him for this year’s Individual Award in the Local Business Charity Awards.

Clear Sky’s aim is to support children going through difficult periods of life and teaching parents and professionals how to support children’s and families’ wellbeing.

The idea is founded on personal experience of Sophia Giblin, the charity’s founder and trustee.

She described why she felt the need to launch a new charity: “’My mother passed away in 2002 leaving behind four children.

Oxford Mail:

“Being the eldest I had to take on the mother’s role which came with many challenges, and being a teenage girl growing up without a mum was really tough.

“My little sister was only nine at the time and, being so young, she found it difficult to come to terms with what had happened.

“As a result, we all struggled in our own way to come to terms with the grief and experienced varying degrees of mental health challenges.

“I often wondered what our lives would have been like if we’d had someone who could help explore the confusing feelings attached to our situation when we were still making sense of it all, at the time when we needed it the most.”

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When she was 23, she decided to launch a charity helping families like hers.

In her award nomination for Mr Lubbock, she praised his help during that period, and wrote: “He was one of the only people to take me seriously in the initial stages of the charity set up.

“I wrote to about 100 people across Oxfordshire to support me in getting the charity off the ground and he was the only person who wrote back with a positive response to see how we could work together to help more children.

“John was the person who helped us raise our first £5,000 that we needed to become a registered charity, including a large personal donation out of his own pocket.

“John helped connect us with funders in the first year of our operations and helped us secure over £200,000 in grants and donations across the years.”

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But what really gives an impression of what a kind of a person Mr Lubbock is, is a sentence hidden well in the middle of the application, where Ms Giblin describes his practice of “sneakily paying” for occasional dinners “so that the charity doesn’t have to foot the cost!”

John Lubbock OBE began his musical career as a chorister and studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music, of which he is not only an alumni, but also an Honorary Fellow since 1999.

In 1967 he launched his orchestra, with the aim of “building an orchestra that would serve the community and not just be part of the music scene.” Based in Oxford, the orchestra have performed all over the world.

The orchestra gives around 50 concerts a year to autistic children and others with learning difficulties through the charity Music For Autism, started by John’s wife, Christine Cairns, in 2002, and takes part in concerts for people with dementia.

In 2015 he was awarded an Order of the British Empire for services to people with autism and learning difficulties. In the same year he was also a finalist in The Times/Sternberg Active Life Award 2015.

Oxford Mail:

John Lubbock is one of three individuals nominated for this year’s Individual Award in the 2019 Local Business Charity Awards in Oxfordshire, along Brendon Cross of STL Communications and Keeley Dennyschene of the Hilton Garden Inn in Abingdon.

Six businesses have also been nominated in the Local Business Charity Awards in Oxfordshire. Prizes worth over £2,000 are sponsored by insurance brokers A-Plan and Jelf with Oxford Mail’s media partnership.

To enter, charities had to nominate an Oxfordshire business or individual, which had done an outstanding job supporting them. If their nominated business wins, the charity will receive a donation of £1,000.

The winner of the Individual Award will receive a weekend break to the value of £300.