Unsung Hero: Berrylands piano teacher has coached children for 50 years

This Is Local London: Mavis Wilton with her piano Mavis Wilton with her piano

A piano teacher has coached children to prizewinning success for half a century, and even helps organise the music festival they enter.

Mavis Wilton, who has lived in Berrylands for more than 50 years, has spent that time giving piano lessons after making her mind up in 1943.

She said: “It certainly doesn’t feel like 50 years, but this is a dream that I have been playing out since I was 10 years old, when I decided I wanted to be a piano teacher.

“My piano teacher used to visit. She used to have a music case bulging with new music.

“Now I have got drawers full of lovely new music ready for teaching.”

Miss Wilton, 80, said she knew she wanted to play the instrument for a living when she took part in the Kingston Performing Arts Festival as a child.

She said: “I actually entered the competition myself in 1942 when I was nine years old and still at school.

“Now I have pupils of my own in the festival every year and my daughter has carried on the tradition too.”

Miss Wilton, who is a member of the committee at the festival and masterminds refreshments for the five consecutive weekends of the competition, has no plans to slow down.

She said: “I’m cutting down a little bit now, but I still enter pupils to the festival every year.

“I think I’d better retire really, but I don’t feel my age and people tell me I don’t look it either.

“So while I can still teach I’ll keep doing it.”

Instead, the octagenarian believes in good old-fashioned hard work. She said: “If you’re a busy person, time doesn’t hang over you.”

Festival general secretary Doreen Camilleri-Novak said: “I think Mavis is a really dedicated person – she has been organising the helpers for all the festivals, especially the vocal, instrumental, and piano sections, for a very long time. She makes everyone feel welcome.”

Do you know an unsung hero? Call the newsdesk on 020 8744 4723 or email jon.sharman@london.newsquest.co.uk.




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