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Nelly Palmer's Fundraising Recital for Freedom4girls

Hello! My name is Nelly Palmer and I am in year 11, studying at Mark Rutherford school. You might recognise me as the organ scholar at St Andrews, or as a member of the choir.


On the 16th of March, I had the honour of presenting a solo recital at St Andrew’s. Featuring my favourite piano and cello music from years of study, the performance ranged from familiar Beethoven through to a little-performed but magnificent Bacewicz concerto. Sensitively and impactfully accompanied by my friend Lauren Owens, we shared our music with a wonderfully supportive audience. I had a brilliant time celebrating humanity’s ability to express and connect through sound.


We raised almost £1500. And every penny went to freedom4girls: an international charity tackling period poverty. I chose it for its evidence-based, sustainable approaches to fighting the issue, and its prioritisation of menstruating people’s dignity and agency. Practical solutions they implement include providing period products, opening up health education opportunities, running reusable pad sewing workshops, and contributing to research projects.


But it is not often, in our fast-paced world, that one person is given the space to create and foster a dream like this one. When society twists our attention into a commodity, time to make art is increasingly seen as superfluous: too far removed from our future-focused culture. We are ordered to consume, not create.


As a teenager, with exams, technology, and social pressures, stealing back space to create art is an increasingly subversive and unconventional act, despite its importance to developing a personal identity. It takes courage, trust, and support.


This is what St Andrew’s gave me. Kelly Agler-Good (Operations Manager) and Lucy Davis (Vicar) were my first port of call, acting with unwavering professionalism, sympathy, and kindness. But the compassion and safety that the church family creates is the product of a community, of each and every member’s contribution. It is such a beautiful thing, and a privilege to be a part of.

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