A teenage musician who only began performing publicly at the start of the year has become the first recipient of this year’s Helstonbury festival grants.
Tobey Grout, 18, performed at the three-day music event in July – just a week later his mum Christine Herring died of cancer.
What makes the £300 grant from the Helstonbury committee extra special to Tobey is that his mum was at the festival to see him perform.
Tobey, from Prospidnick, near Sithney, said: “Mum died exactly a week afterwards. She told everybody, including all the nurses, about it. I think the Friday night most people there were because mum said ‘You have got to go’.”
His dad added: “His mum always encouraged him to play the guitar.”
Tobey, who plays instrumental acoustic guitar with contemporary techniques, is spending the windfall on pickups and electronic amplification equipment which he is ordering from the US.
He hopes he will be able to earn money playing gigs in Durham, where he is heading to university at the end the month to study a masters degree in engineering.
Tobey was first spotted performing at an open mic night at Helston Community College in February. A few weeks later he played at Porthleven Food Festival.
It was as a result of these performances that Helstonbury organiser Paul Turton asked Tobey if he would perform at his forthcoming festival.
Afterwards Tobey applied for a grant from the event’s charity fund, which shares out the money raised.
Tobey told the Packet: “I wrote an email to Paul asking if I could get a small donation, expecting £50 towards it. He turned around and said he would do as much as possible.
“I’m just blown away by their support. It’s been really, really helpful.”
Al Rideout, who is part of the Helstonbury committee, said: “Tobey was somebody who needed that little bit of a leg up and was going off out the county. The fund is all about supporting young people who we think need a little bit of extra financial help.”
More grants are expected to be awarded in due course.