Blind harpist Amy Moar dies aged 24

Amy Moar. Picture: Jane Barlow

Amy Moar. Picture: Jane Barlow

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A BLIND harpist who once sang for the Dalai Lama has died at the age of just 24.

Amy Moar was a talented musician and gifted composer who spent much of the second half of last year working with disabled children.

In 2004, she performed in front of the Dalai Lama on his visit to Edinburgh and was later selected to become one of the first ever Developing Potential Trainees for Drake Music Scotland – a leading disability music charity. She was the first registered blind student to study music at Stevenson College and once sang at London’s O2 Arena.

Friends, family and colleagues paid tribute to a “natural musician” with “immense charm, enthusiasm and [an] endlessly positive attitude”.

It is understood Ms Moar died of health complications after falling seriously ill in December.

Thursa Sanderson, chief executive of Drake Music Scotland, said the musician would be “sorely missed” by “everyone who met her, worked with her and heard her music”.

“She is a sad loss to us and Scotland’s music not only as a player, composer and presenter but also because of the huge encouragement she gave to others,” she said. Artistic director Pete Sparkes added: “We were so very lucky to work with such a natural musician, her talent and ability to play a wide range of instruments in any style and work sensitively with a wide range of participants was remarkable.

“Even more than her wonderful talent for music, I will miss her immense charm, enthusiasm and endlessly positive attitude to life and its challenges.”

A statement on the charity’s website said: “We are heartbroken to hear of the death of our dearly loved friend and musician Amy Moar who died on February 29, aged 24.

“Amy was a highly gifted composer, harp player and teacher and in only a few short years working with us had become one of the key members of our team to be found at the centre of many of our acclaimed projects and performances, not least our Traditional Scots music ensemble Equilibrium.

“Amy’s talent as a musician was matched by her warmth, humour and generosity and to our delight, we discovered Amy was a born communicator on stage too.

“The way she could charm the audience both playing and talking about her compositions was natural and effortless.

“In 2014, Amy was selected to become one of our first ever Developing Potential Trainees and recently completed her training with two highly successful projects in Angus Special Schools.

“We had been looking forward to engaging Amy in further schools work as lead musician when she became seriously ill in December.”

One comment on the charity’s website, from a relative, said the “joys shared through her music” would be Ms Moar’s lasting legacy.

A JustGiving page set up in the musician’s memory to raise funds for Drake Music Scotland – which she wished to continue supporting – has so far raised more than £900.