Because Kirsty loved Cuba and its music, an Educational Fund was set up in her name to provide aid for children trying to continue the country’s great musical tradition.
Soho Square, 12 August 2001
Donations have been welcomed to a special fund set up in memory of Kirsty, the Music Fund for Cuba (for how to add to the donations please see the foot of this page). It was decided to combine the Music Fund presentation with the fans’ tribute of a Bench in Soho Square, and to have a joint day in London. First the bench was unveiled to the crowd of friends, family and friends. This was followed immediately by the presentation of a cheque for £11,200 to “Cuban Music Schools”, coordinated by Steve Wilkinson from Cuba Solidatiry Campaign.
“As you all know, Kirsty was an avid supporter of Cuba and the gains of its Socialist Revolution, and one of the last things she did was complete a history of Cuban music for BBC Radio 2. In October last year I had the great privilege of going with Kirsty to hand in a petition to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of 25,000 signatures against the American embargo of Cuba, where I can tell you that Kirsty was a very direct, outspoken and courageous advocate of the cause which we support. The fund is to raise money to provide instruments and the things that instruments need, like strings and reeds and so on, for Cuban music schools of which there are many as you all know – Cuba is very rich in its musical heritage and also has a very extensive education system. So this money which has been raised by you all and many others is going to go to buy oboes, french horns, double bass instruments, cellos and reeds and strings for all of those things which will be going to 23 music schools in 14 different provinces right across Cuba.”.
His Excellency José Fernández de Cossio, the Cuban Ambassador to Great Britain, said “I just want say Thank You on behalf of the Cuban people, this very touching and very moving gesture, it goes directly to the students and to the professors and teachers. Thank you.”
The Music Fund has two simple aims: to raise money to send musical equipment for schools and colleges and provide materials for music and cultural projects throughout Cuba. Secondly, it will facilitate a wider understanding of the breadth of Cuban culture and use visits and exchanges to further develop cultural links between Britain and Cuba.
‘One violin string costs about a pound,
but for young musicians and those who want to hear them play the value is priceless’