Grandad’s violin plays a new tune for charity

VIOLINIST: Former vicar Donald Wrapson and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra violinist Byron Parish, with the violin that has raised hundreds for charity. SP

VIOLINIST: Former vicar Donald Wrapson and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra violinist Byron Parish, with the violin that has raised hundreds for charity. SP

First published in Local

A VIOLIN that lay forgotten in an Alvechurch attic for more than 60 years has a new lease of life in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), and helped a charity in the process.

The instrument, made in Germany in the 1860s, belonged to retired vicar Donald Wrapson’s grandfather.

Mr Wrapson explained that when he was a boy his grandad used to play at parties. But after he died in the 1950s, the instrument sat in an attic because no one in the family could play.

The 77-year-old discovered that his neighbour Bryon Parish, 42, a first violinist with the CBSO was doing a charity run for the Bowel and Cancer Research charity.

The Glebe Road resident asked if he could donate his grandad's violin. After being valued and renovated it was sold to Byron’s fellow violinist at the CBSO, Jane Wright - raising £370 for the charity.

“It’s a lovely story,” said Mr Wrapson.

“My biggest hope was that it could be played again in a big orchestra. It’s absolutely the right thing to happen. The quality of sound is wonderful and I’m thrilled to pieces – it’s singing after such a long silence.”

Mr Wrapson was a hospital chaplin before retirement. He said: "I came across the tremendous extremities of ill health.

"Last year I was visiting a man in hospital who was diagnosed with bowel cancer so everything seemed to fit a pattern. It’s a beautiful resurrection story and I’m so pleased it’s worked out.”

Byron ran the London and New York marathons, the Great North Run and the Birmingham Half Marathon in 2013, to raise money for the charity and Myeloma UK.

He said: “When the violin came out of the attic, it didn’t have any strings so we didn’t know what to expect.

"But when I got to play it for the first time it was lovely – it has a beautiful mature sound.

“I raised more than £5,000 for charity. Don’s violin was a very generous bonus.”

Chief Executive for Bowel and Cancer Research, Deborah Gilbert, thanked Mr Wrapson, Byron and Jane Wright for their support.

She said: “Our research into the causes of bowel disease is relentless and we very much value the efforts of people like Mr Wrapson and Byron on our behalf.”

Anyone who wants to sponsor Byron can do so at virginmoneygiving.com/ByronParish and bowelcancerresearch.org.

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