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Bedford hosts National Songwriting Awards

The Bedford hosted the 8th Annual National Songwriting Awards Final in conjunction with the Musicians Benevolent Fund, writes Paul Watson

The Musicians Benevolent Fund is a charity which provides support to musicians of all ages who have undergone accidents or illness that has had significant impact on their lives. This January, in the charity’s 90th Anniversary year, it showcased six of the nation’s finest songwriters at its 8th Annual Songwriting Awards Final at The Bedford in Balham. The event was judged by an industry panel chaired by Alison Clarkson (aka Brit Award winner Betty Boo) and including The Bedford’s own Tony Moore, which eventually saw Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) student Dan Croll (pictured) scoop the £5,000 Songwriting Award prize, and Daniel Bryer (Univ. of Gloucester) and Ben Whelan (Leeds Met. Univ.) receive a Development Award of £1,250. Other panellists included songwriter and ex-Alisha’s Attic band member Shelly Poole, her husband (and founder of Scottish rock band Texas) Ally McErlaine, and Grammy Award winner David Arnold. “We are happy to help out this organisation in any way possible as they do brilliant work; and musicians have nowhere else to turn when they hit hard times,” says Poole and McErlaine on their involvement in the event. “It was a pleasure to help out and see some great music from the students.”
 Post-ceremony, gracious award-winner Dan Croll – who began playing music at the age of thirteen – insists that his time at LIPA has been vital in his development as a songwriter. “Since arriving at LIPA, my appreciation of music has grown exponentially,” he says. “This has opened my eyes and ears to the widest panorama of musical styles, resulting in the couple of songs you heard tonight.” Final word goes to the event’s host, panel member, and the man behind much of The Bedford’s recent successes, Tony Moore, who has been working closely with the fund for eight years. “For young songwriters to have their work judged by some of the top names in the music business is a rare and priceless experience,” Moore insists. “The Bedford has been the perfect environment for these performers to be seen and heard at their best.”