Annie Mawson – Sunbeams Founder
Cumbria Woman of the Year 2000
Annie Mawson is the founder and Chief Executive of Sunbeams.
Following a successful career as a special needs teacher, she established herself in 1992 as a freelance musician playing the harp, and at the same time, moved by her experience of working with special needs people, decided to set up Sunbeams. She tirelessly, and often against all odds, dedicated herself to Sunbeams, mostly on a voluntary basis until the arrival of a Community Fund award in 2001.
Today she combines her role of Chief Executive with a Music For Life® musician and continues to pursue her very successful freelance career as an internationally renowned harpist.
In 2000 she was honoured with Cumbrian Woman of the Millennium Year for her work with Sunbeams, and in October 2004 she was awarded an Honorary Professorship when she was elected a member of the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain.
In the 2014 New Year’s Honours List, Annie was awarded an MBE for Services to the Therapeutic use of Community Music in Cumbria. A great honour, and a testament to her work and that of Sunbeams. Read more HERE
Annie is the pioneer of Music For Life® which involves the therapeutic and recreational interactive use of music with groups. She now regularly hosts workshops to train other health professionals and musicians in her approach. As an example, Annie used a multi-media presentation at a DSC Conference in London when she talked about “Breaking the Sound Barrier”. Focus was on the unique combination of inclusion by using the therapeutic use of community music and accredited learning for people with severe special needs.
During the year of the new millennium, Annie was invited to play in front of H.H. the Dalai Lama in Belfast at the International Peace Conference. In July 1998, Annie had the honour of being invited by Lady Eileen Carey to perform at the Lambeth Conference, for the gathering of eight hundred bishops of the world. She has played for Archbishop George Carey of Canterbury, HRH The Duke of Gloucester and the late Cardinal Basil Hume. Annie has made several appearances on National Television: Songs of Praise and Morning Worship, the Travel Show and various arts programmes. She sang and played the harp on a BBC Radio 4 programme in celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee.
“In an evening of virtuoso playing and singing, Annie’s theme of unrequited love pulled at heartstrings and harpstrings alike.”
“To play the harp is unusual, to play with skill and style is rarer still, add in beauty, charm, and wit and you have something, and someone, really special”
Cumberland and Westmorland Herald
“Annie Mawson’s harp playing has a style and poignancy that has won her many admirers…”
“The afternoon really belonged to Annie Mawson, a very soporific session as Annie’s beautiful voice cascaded around the tent”
European Arts Festival Review
“Vivacious! Witty! Stunning!”