Corby estate's band of eco activist musicians win county youth work award

The 'school of rock' musicians volunteer in their community in the Oakley Vale area of Corby

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 11:25 am
l-r John Whittaker (CEO of Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs and Action Centres UK, Karl Balmer (drums) Elliot Smith (guitar) Ola Gutt (guitar) and Emma Murphy (Clarinet)

A group of budding rock musicians, who volunteer in their community in exchange for free music lessons, have received countywide recognition for their efforts.

Oakley Rangers won the Community Involvement award at the annual Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs' (NAYC) ceremony, hleld on on Monday February 3 to mark the achievements of young people and youth organisation volunteers.

Founded and organised by husband and wife Paul Balmer, Judy Caine, and Pete Smith, Oakley Rangers are a youth division of The Oakley Vale Community Association.

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Paul Balmer (with guitar) and some members of the Oakley Rangers

Paul Balmer, Oakley Rangers musical director said: "’It was a real proud 'dad moment' as the Rangers received their Community Involvement award.

"My son Karl is now their regular drummer. They are all part of creating a community on Oakley vale – from litter picking to tree planting to unveiling local sculptures with a fanfare.’’

The Oakley Rangers receive free music lessons every Saturday at Oakley Vale Community Centre from 3.30pm to 5pm in exchange for litter picks and tree planting in the local area.

Mr Balmer added: "They are basically a rock band and have a fantastic new singer Nkara Stephenson and a clarinet soloist, Emma Murphy.

"They have appeared on BBC1’s ‘The One Show’ and Corby Core Theatre.

Their next gig will be at the unveiling of two new Oakley Vale sculptures in the lakes on the estate on Saturday, March 21, when the Mayor of Corby takes to the water in a rowing boat, serenaded by the band.