Musical Harpenden family taking to the stage for brain injury charity

PUBLISHED: 06:42 25 February 2011

Rupert and Izzy Johnston

Rupert and Izzy Johnston

Archant

A FAMILY of talented musicians from Harpenden will be putting on a concert to raise money for a new appeal for brain injury victims.

Escala violinist Izzy Johnston and her brothers Guy and Magnus, who are also professional musicians, have organised the show at the Harpenden Public Halls on Friday, March 11, for a cause very close to their hearts.

Their brother Rupert, who will also be performing at the concert, sustained serious life-limiting brain injuries in a road accident and lives in a specialist home in Aylesbury which is run by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT).

But despite his injuries Rupert, now 33, has never lost his ability and talent for playing the French Horn and his siblings will be launching a new appeal which will set out to keep the interests of brain injury victims like their brother’s alive.

Izzy, 27, whose all-girl electro-string quartet shot to fame when they made it through to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2008, has made a short film about Rupert’s life to launch the Eyes Alight Appeal at the forthcoming concert – which will include Magnus, 31, playing with his group the Navarra String Quartet.

She continued: “It’s a five minute film which will be shown on the evening to give people a bit of an insight into what life is like for Rupert and how this can happen to anybody.

“It will be 14 years this month since his accident and although people’s lives move on, for Rupert and the immediate family it will always be very raw.”

Izzy, whose parents Gill and David run Harpenden’s Musicale, explained that she has spent lots of time with Rupert and his friends in rehabilitation over the past year, during which she noticed that while the facilities and round-the-clock care were fantastic, the patients lacked that little something extra to “brighten their day.”

She continued: “The Eyes Alight Appeal will be part of BIRT but is to raise money for the little extras, the bit of TLC that charity’s can’t necessarily put money towards as they have so many other costs which go towards the rehabilitation of someone like Rupert.

“For someone like him, for example, it will be the chance to watch a concert in London. There is another patient that loves art so for him it would be providing paints, it’s all these little things that can make a big difference.”

All the money from the concert – which will also include a number of collaborations between the Johnston siblings and the Navarra String Quartet – will go towards the new appeal.

Izzy added: “The support we get from the public in Harpenden has well and truly been massive – we have raised around £200,000 for the charity over the years and it’s always a great night when we do these concerts.”

Tickets, which are selling fast, cost £20 and can be secured through calling Musicale on 01582 713333.

Donations to the new appeal or enquiries for more information should also be directed to the music school.

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