In December 2011, Ed Renshaw, the son of British clothes designer Margaret Howell, committed suicide following a long bout of depression.
‘Sad to report the death of guitarist Ed Renshaw, a guitarist able to play in a broad range of contexts from work in Alec Dankworth’s Spanish Accents band and with Tony Coe, to classical repertoire and flamenco. His work abroad had taken him to Vienna, working with Peter Herbert and Franz Koglmann, and to the Loelner Philharomnie. Sandy Burnett writes: “he was a supremely talented jazz and classical guitarist. He was young – born in 1981 – and had been suffering from depression’ – London Jazz News
Ed was an extremely gifted guitarist who had achieved international recognition for his guitar playing – he had a bright future ahead of him. Despite the mentoring and support he received from the music business, family and friends, Ed suffered from a lack of self-esteem.
Very few of his friends foresaw this ending.
Some months after his funeral, Peter Conway met Margaret Howell and discussed the possibility of holding a concert, to celebrate Ed’s life and music, allowing an opportunity for his friends and fellow musicians to perform.
At the meeting, it was agreed, if feasible, to follow up the concert and create a more lasting memorial by creating an award scheme for young musicians.
The friends of Ed rallied round the idea of the concert and an approach was made to Gavin Barlow, Chief Executive of the Albany, Deptford to hire his venue
In October 2012 a concert under the title ‘An Evening for Ed’ took place. Amongst many wonderful performances was an unplanned acoustic rendition of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ by one of Ed’s closest friends.
Since then, there have been three bi-annual fundraising concerts to raise funds to give awards to young musicians (16 – 25) to help them progress with their music. Some of them have mental health issues.
Alec Dankworth, Beth Orton and Chris Difford (Squeeze) have been special guests on these concerts.
This year there are four consecutive fundraising concerts at the end of October:
This year there are are four young musicians who have been selected for awards – three singer-songwriters and a rapper. Not only do they get money, but they get mentoring and business support. They will also play short sets on one of the concerts.
Their names are: