Former music teacher John Merriman lands civic award nomination
3:40pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in News
A former music teacher who turned his dream of creating a music studio into reality has been nominated for a Merton Civic Award.
John Merriman first envisaged his dream studio in an art class aged just 14.
Nearly 20 years later he is living his dream running the Crown Lane Studio in Morden. The studio opened in 2003 and its work in the community earning him a nomination in the arts and entertainment category.
Mr Merriman, who taught music for six years at Cheam High School, decided to go full time at the studio in 2007, after he and his wife, Ruth, survived a life-threatening seven-car pile-up driving along the Berkshire and Hampshire border on a stormy New Year’s Eve.
He said: “I was always telling the kids to follow their dreams and after the accident it gave me some perspective, so we decided to put everything into the studio.”
The studio has strong links to the community and offers music courses to people with mental health issues and to pupils of Melrose School in Mitcham - a school for children who suffer with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Last year pupils sang at half time during an AFC Wimbledon match.
The studio also provided one man with mental health issues his first job – working with the maintenance team – at the age of 42.
Mr Merriman said: “When he came to the studio we could see very quickly he had a talent for playing guitar, but was not able to hold a full-time job, so we offered him a role here.”
The studio enjoyed recent success after the Morden Doves’ Christmas hit Peace at Christmas – recorded and produced at the Crown Lane Studio – reached No 1 in the Amazon Christmas top 50 charts category. And only last week the studio won a bid to work in partnership with the Royal Albert Hall.
Mr Merriman said: “We are all just celebrating at the moment, it is fantastic.”
Mr Merriman is currently working with a children’s charity in Zambia using the power of music to help disadvantaged children.