Mayor’s pride for top pianist

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The Mayor of Crawley has spoken of her pride for a world renowned pianist she saw play when he was 13-years-old.

Cllr Brenda Smith said she was honoured Warren Mailley-Smith will give a recital in aid of her charity of the year, the Alzheimer’s Society’s Crawley services, at The Hawth Theatre on May 2.

Warren, who went to Hazelwick School and teaches piano at Worth School, said he felt nostalgic to play where he held his first public performance.

He said: “I very rarely have the opportunity to just hang out in Crawley itself, it’s just full of happy memories.

“You see things in a certain way through the eyes of a child and it’s quite interesting coming back as an adult having gone all round the world and coming back to where it all started.”

Cllr Smith first saw Warren play in 1990. She said: “Even with my limited knowledge of classical music I could tell he was extremely talented.

“I asked him to play at the Civic Ball in 1991 which he did. Brilliantly.”

She met him next in Dorsten, Germany, when Warren played at a concert held to celebrate the towns twinning anniversary in 2013.

Warren had visited Dorsten with the West Sussex Music Centre and the Dorsten committee had followed his international career.

Cllr Smith said Warren remembered her because she gave him his first public solo concert.

Warren agreed to play at her charity dinner dance after she became mayor in 2014.

She said: “Together with Romesh Ranganathan [Hazelwick maths teacher turned top UK comic] they helped raise £4,000.”

Warren also agreed to give the Hawth recital in aid of the mayor’s charity.

Her husband, Jim Smith, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

She added: “Warren is a brilliant award winning world renowned pianist - a favourite of the Royal Family.

“He is also a very unassuming and genuinely nice young man.

“I am deeply honoured that he has been so willing to support Jim and I in our mayoral year and help raise funds for my charity.”

Warren encouraged people to take up learning a musical instrument. The performance will start at 7.30pm.