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The Big Interview by Pat Nasmyth February 2010


Alrewas is an attractive village nestled in the countryside of Staffordshire, it was here that Hilary and Tony settled after their marriage. Hilary was born in Walsall and educated at West Bromwich Grammar school. She went on to University College London to read German and Economics, where she become co-leader of the London University Orchestra, and subsequently the London Institute of Education for a PGCE in German and Music.

Interest in music started at an early stage under her Mother’s influence, who was very musical. Starting with the recorder at primary school, Hilary progressed to playing the violin when she was eleven, later on under the tutelage of Ernest Element of the Birmingham Conservatoire and eventually going to the Mozarteum Akademie in Salzburg to further her violin studies.

During her first teaching post at King Edward’s School in Lichfield, Hilary met Tony, who is a pianist and initiated the partnership with the unique “chat up” line of “would you like me to accompany you?”, whilst she was playing the Bach Double Violin Concerto with another member of staff. Teaching German at Swinfen Hall Prison in the Midlands was one of Hilary’s rewarding experiences.

The couple moved to Whitstone to take up teaching posts - Hilary at Budehaven, German, and Tony at Holsworthy, Art, Design and Technology. Their children are Matthew, who plays the saxophone and works in the City, and Elizabeth who plays the violin with the Orchestra of the City in London and works for the Arts Council.

Hilary’s music has led her into many avenues both stimulating and amusing..........with her quartet, she was involved in a TV documentary filmed in a clay pit, in a tea party setting to depict where “China Tea Sets “ originate, a very chilling experience!

After working as “Head’s Relief” and teaching music at Whitstone CP School, Hilary went on to work for the Cornwall Music Service, travelling round schools, to as many as 17 in one week, teaching all ages from the Early Years through to sixth formers. She is now concentrating on instrumental teaching for 3 days a week and playing with various orchestras and choral societies around the South West and with her string quartet, Kowetha (Cornish for friends).

Music has been a great social asset to Hilary and involved her with many people, including Johnny Dankworth who arranged a piece of music for the South West Sinfonietta which she enjoyed playing. To Hilary music is a gift to take through life to share the sense of achievement and fun with others.

Added to music .... swimming, gardening, cooking and sailing (although admitting to only being a “ fair weather crew “ for Tony aboard their 24 foot Hurley) keep her busy.

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