Muswell Hill violist begins charity walk for 101st birthday

Kenneth Essex is walking 10km in 10 days for Hospice Aid UK

Kenneth Essex is walking 10km in 10 days for Hospice Aid UK - Credit: Liz Golding

A Muswell Hill musician is taking on a charity walk for his 101st birthday as part of a bid for Guinness World Record glory.  

Violist Kenneth Essex, who has played with The Beatles, is walking 10km in 10 days leading up to his birthday on July 20 for Hospice Aid UK.  

An orchestra of 101 violas, the “first ever”, is then set to play a special arrangement of Happy Birthday for Ken by Classic FM’s Debbie Wiseman OBE.  

The birthday rendition is also an attempt on the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s largest all-viola orchestra, which currently stands at 321. 

Ken said: “After my successful walk last year when I raised more than £20,000 for Moorfields Eye Charity, I am delighted to still be able to do a similar 10km walk again this year at the age of 101, for a very fine cause, Hospice Aid UK.  


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“I hope that with the everyone’s support, I can raise a similar amount.” 

Ken, who made his reputation in both classical and popular music, the latter as a session musician, is the only surviving member of the string quartet which played the backing for The Beatles on Yesterday.  

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He has played in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Symphony Orchestra as principal viola, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and many chamber ensembles including the Hurwitz Quartet and the Amadeus String Quartet.  

His viola contributes to the backing tracks of many popular songs, films and TV series including Fawlty Towers and The Last of the Summer Wine.   

On Ken’s fundraising page, he says: “I have been blessed with a musical talent, and have been very lucky to have had such an interesting musical career.

“I would like to give something back, and to help other people. I have chosen to support Hospice Aid UK, as several friends and fellow musicians, have benefited from the care of a hospice at the end of their lives.”   

Last year, for his 100th birthday, Ken completed a charity walk in aid of Moorfields Eye Hospital.

To donate to his latest fundraiser visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=KennethEssex&pageUrl=2  

Kenneth Essex is walking 10km in 10 days for Hospice Aid UK

Kenneth Essex is walking 10km in 10 days for Hospice Aid UK - Credit: Liz Golding

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