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Newbury violinist celebrates 100th birthday

NEWBURY Symphony Orchestra recently joined first violinist Jennifer Davies to celebrate her 100th birthday. Living in Speen, Jennifer has played in the NSO for more than 50 years.

Orchestra chairman David Cooper said: “It is a remarkable achievement to meet the demands of symphony playing at the age of 100.

“First violins need stamina, skill and elan to make their orchestra parts come to life. Jennifer holds her own playing a challenging repertoire of works by composers such as Shostakovich, Sibelius and Mahler, and is a member of the orchestra committee.”

Jennifer and her sister Sylvia, also a musician, moved to Newbury in the early 1950s and both became members of the orchestra.

Jennifer was a pupil at Downe House, where they still have an annual music prize named after her.

During the war she became a senior Wren and was awarded the British War medal and British Defence medal. For many years she lived in London where she owned Jennifer Davies Antiques and was a well-regarded specialist in repairing china.

When Jennifer moved to Speen in 1977 she initiated a successful campaign to have St Mary’s Church reinstated, has been a choir member, a sidesman and has regularly read the lesson on Sundays for some 40 years. Known for her kindness and sense of humour, Jennifer is a popular and respected member of the local community.

Adored by her family, many of whom play musical instruments, she is also an aunt to eight, great-aunt to 12 and great-great aunt to eight.

Dr Cooper added: “The NSO has playing members from school age upwards. Older members are proud to pass on the tradition of performing classical music to future generations.”

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