Chetham’s head to leave af­ter 16 years in post

Wilmslow Express - - WEEKEND TV -

THE head­teacher of Chetham’s School of Mu­sic has an­nounced she is step­ping down af­ter 16 years in the job.

Ac­cord­ing to a school spokes­woman, the de­par­ture of Claire More­land is un­con­nected to sep­a­rate tri­als later this year of vi­o­lin­ists Mal­colm Lay­field and Wen Zhou Li who face sex charges.

The head, who has been in place since 1999, an­nounced her exit in an email to 300 stu­dents, say­ing she wanted to give the gov­er­nors plenty of no­tice to find her re­place­ment be­fore her re­tire­ment in 2016.

She wrote in her email to stu­dents: “I am shar­ing my de­ci­sion with 18 months’ no­tice in or­der to li­aise with the school gov­er­nors as they ap­point my suc­ces­sor, and then to work with the new head to lay the foun­da­tions for the next ex­cit­ing phase for Chetham’s, not least in­volv­ing our new world-class Con­cert Hall!

“It has been a rare priv­i­lege to serve as head of this unique estab­lish­ment, and I would like to thank ev­ery­one sin­cerely for all the won­der­ful sup­port I have re­ceived through­out my time here, sup­port which has helped me to lead the school through much devel­op­ment and progress.”

In re­cent years

the school has been rocked by a string of scan­dals re­lat­ing to pre­vi­ous teach­ing staff.

In 2013 the school’s for­mer choir direc­tor Michael Brewer, 68, of Selly Oak, Birm­ing­ham, was jailed for six years for in­de­cently as­sault­ing for­mer stu­dent Frances An­drade in 1979 and 1980.

Mrs An­drade killed her­self at her home in Guild­ford, Sur­rey, a week af­ter giv­ing ev­i­dence against him.

Last year con­duc­tor Ni­cholas Smith, 66, for­merly of Macclesfield, was jailed for eight months for as­sault­ing a teenage girl from the school. Two fur­ther cases in­volv­ing for­mer teach­ers are also set to take place.

Vi­o­lin teacher Mal­colm Lay­field, 62, of Vic­to­ria Pit Ma­rina, Higher Poyn­ton, Cheshire, a mu­sic pro­fes­sor at ‘Chets’, has de­nied a sin­gle count of rape of a young woman in the 1980s.

An­other vi­o­lin teacher, Wen Zhou Li, 59, of Vale Royal Drive, North­wich, has been charged with rape and two of­fences of in­de­cent as­sault re­lat­ing to al­leged abuse of a teenage girl in the 1990s. AN artist is set to re­trace the steps of an In­dian ele­phant who walked all the way to Manch­ester from Ed­in­burgh.

Ma­haraja the In­dian Ele­phant was walked from Scot­land to Belle Vue Zoo in 1872 – af­ter the zoo pur­chased him as a new at­trac­tion.

He had meant to go by train – but de­stroyed his rail­way car­riage, mean­ing he and his keeper were forced to make the mam­moth jour­ney on foot.

Now Manch­ester comic artist Oliver East is set to re­trace the fa­mous ele­phant’s foot­steps, walk­ing the same 200 miles over eight days.

Along the way he will cre­ate draw­ings in­spired by scenes along the route as well as be­ing filmed for a doc­u­men­tary ‘Take Me Back to Manch­ester’ which will be shown at Toronto Comic Art Fes­ti­val in May this year.

Oliver said: “It’s a story that sits some­where at the back of most Man­cu­nian’s mem­o­ries with­out them ever re­ally know­ing what ac­tu­ally hap­pened.

“There is a lot writ­ten about Belle Vue Zoo it­self, and Ma­haraja’s life there, but lit­tle to noth­ing about the ac­tual walk Lorenzo un­der­took, which makes it ripe to mine for lin­ear nar­ra­tive.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion of draw­ings are due to go on public dis­play early next year.

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