National award for retired music chief

Peter Dunkley who has received a national award
Peter Dunkley who has received a national award

The retired chief executive of Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Service, Peter Dunkley, has received a national award.

He scooped the Lifetime Achievement award at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, held at London’s Barbican Centre this week.

For many years Mr Dunkley spearheaded the Northamptonshire County Council-run service.

The award recognises his work during this time and also for leading the service from being run by the county council to an organisation which now operates as an independent charitable trust.

Deputy Leader of the county council, Cllr Joan Kirkbride, said: “I’m delighted that Peter has been recognised for his excellent work over the years and his commitment to bringing the joys of music and the arts to many, many children in our county.

“Peter also had the vision to realise that the best way the service could continue to run in these difficult financial times was for it to be run as a charitable trust.

“This has meant that while in many counties, comparable services have withered, here in Northamptonshire we have a flourishing organisation delivering top-quality education, which inspires many.”

Now operating as Northamptonshire Music and Performance Arts Trust (NMPAT) the service has a new chief executive, Peter Smalley.

He said: “Everyone is delighted that Peter has been recognised in this way. His visionary leadership not only established us as one of the most successful music services in the country, but also secured our future by working with the county council to form a sustainable model for years to come. The people of Northamptonshire have a lot to thank him for.”

Mr Dunkley said: “I was really delighted to receive this prestigious award, it genuinely came as a total surprise and I feel humbled to have been singled out.

“Northamptonshire is blessed with an amazing team of music teachers both retained by the Music and Performing Arts Trust and based in our schools, and thanks to partnerships between the two and enlightened decision makers, our young musicians have continued to access an amazing range of opportunities.

“Long may it continue, and I am honoured to have played my part working with young musicians across the county and helping establish the Trust’s future direction.”

The awards were hosted by Classic FM presenter Margherita Taylor, as part of the inaugural Music Education Expo held on Wednesday (March 20) and Thursday (March 21).

The Lifetime achievement award, was sponsored by /Black Cat Music and was for an individual who has made a seminal contribution to music education.