Our very own Coronation Champion

Peter and Vivien Harrison Founders Grayshott ConcertsOutstanding volunteer Peter Harrison is among just 500 people across the UK to be chosen as one of Queen Consort Camilla's Coronation Champions for his dedication to Grayshott Concerts, our own charity that he, with his wife Vivien, co-founded in 2004.

Peter, 85, who lives in Grayshott, has recruited Sir Karl Jenkins CBE FRAM - one of the world's most-performed living composers - to be Patron of the charity, persuaded dozens of world-class classical stars, musicians and singers to perform at St Luke's Church, in Grayshott and managed to fully sell out over 90 concerts.

"It's quite overwhelming to receive an award of this calibre," Peter said. "It's incredible to think that all of our efforts have been recognised in this way. But what matters most is that our work has brought world-class classical music to so many people who otherwise wouldn't have had that opportunity."

The Award recognises the work of Peter and Vivien, who over the last 20 years, have established Grayshott Concerts as one of the most successful volunteer-run, live music groups in the country.

They have mastered the skills of attracting world-class musicians, orchestras, soloists, choirs, conductors and composers from across the world, to come and perform in the heart of the village community at acoustically-perfect St Luke's Church in the village.

Regular performers include: London Mozart Players, appointed Orchestra-in-residence in 2011; Conductor and Pianist, Howard Shelley, appointed Associate Artist in 2012; Excelsis Chamber Choir, co-founded by Peter and Vivien with Robert Lewis in 2007 and appointed Choir-in-residence in 2013; and Tasmin Little, who performed her final three public performances of 'The Lark Ascending' in Grayshott, before retiring in 2020.

Bringing top performers to the village means that local people can avoid the inconvenience of travelling to London and beyond, when they can enjoy the same stars – almost on their doorstep. "We've brought the Royal Albert Hall into our community." says Peter.

Their concerts have proved so popular that, not only do concert-goers come from a radius of 50 miles or more, but every one of the events staged so far, has sold out to capacity audiences – an achievement believed to be unique anywhere in Britain.

Grayshott Concerts supports young performers, organises free workshops for aspiring young musicians, and in 2022, arranged a free professional performance of Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf' for pupils and staff at Grayshott Primary School to celebrate their 150th Anniversary. Older folk in care homes enjoy music recitals on concert days and, soon after Covid restrictions were lifted, a free 'Thank You' concert was organised for over 200 NHS 'Covid-Heroes'.

Sir Karl Jenkins and Peter Harrison and performers World Premiere of Miserere Grayshott Concerts 2019None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary support of our 200 'Friends' and so many other supporters" say Peter and Vivien, adding: "Grayshott Concerts' success is down to the attendance of all of our concert-goers. A huge 'Thank-you' to you all!"

Each 'Coronation Champion' has received a commemorative pin, a certificate signed by the King and Queen – and two tickets to attend the Buckingham Palace Garden Party on 9th May – just 3 days after the Coronation.