“Today if you are listening to my voice, it is because Sacha Abercorn from Pushkin Trust listened to my 11-year-old voice and gave it a place and a purpose.”
These are the words of Johnny McDaid from Snow Patrol, who has praised the Pushkin Trust founder for helping him unlock his inner creativity when he was a young boy.
As the charity celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, the famous musician and songwriter from Derry who has played to audiences across the globe, heralded the Pushkin Trust as a place where “imagination, creativity, self-expression, connectivity, exploration and love of the human spirit are celebrated and nurtured’.
“Sacha was my teacher,” Johnny said. “An instructor shows us how to do what we do. But a teacher inspires us how to be what we are.
“Our teachers are the alchemists of our potential.
“For all Sacha has done for me and many others, I will be forever grateful.”
Johnny, who has also written songs for Ed Sheeran, further revealed that his mother Pauline has enjoyed learning from Sacha.
“I believe teaching is not just done from text books and on blackboards,” Johnny said. “It’s the passing of something important. Like love, it can become more when it is known.
“Every hammer brought down on the head of a chisel to reveal the sculpture that hides inside the marble, every surgeon’s knife wielded with confidence to save a life, is guided by the voice of a teacher.”
He continued, “It might be said that teaching creativity is like trying to dance to the smell of the colour purple.
“But in all of us, there is an inner work rich with colour, vibrancy and primed with possibility. And that is why Pushkin Trust is so important.”
Johnny has also thanked the teachers of the Pushkin Trust for their unwavering guidance and support over the years.
“We, your grateful students, marvel at your gift. Your commitment to the future, your inspiration and your guidance,” he said in a specially recorded audio piece.
“You are the shepherds of the hearts of those who will build tomorrow.
“You are the voice that we will hear in our heads every time we tell a story, write a song, make a loaf of bread or make a paper aeroplane. You are the compass that guides us as we embark in our voyage into the world.”