‘Upbeat note for ME sufferer’

From the Kidderminster Shuttle, 6 January 2008 (Story by Charlie Crabtree)

THE power of music has helped a Kidderminster man get his life back on track and start up his own business after being diagnosed with a serious illness.

John Griffiths, 55, of Bewdley Hill, a teacher in Wyre Forest for more than 25 years, was diagnosed with ME in March 2006 following years of tests.

He has managed his condition with the support of family, friends and medical therapists and has used the backing of local colleagues to launch his own business called Music in Church and Schools (MICAS).

Backed by support from Business Link in the West Midlands and Remploy, the resilient entrepreneur is up and running and introducing his music into the National Curriculum at local schools.

The trained pianist, guitarist and keyboard player said: “ME is a debilitating condition which causes severe fatigue and malaise following mental or physical activity.

“It can affect muscles and your memory, disrupting your immune system and making you more liable to pick up everyday infections. As you can imagine, this made work as a full-time teacher impossible.”

He added: “By May of this year I was finally beginning to feel stronger and I knew that I wanted to get back into some form of work, but I genuinely never expected to be starting my own business.

“I really thought that my career was over when I was told about my ME.”

Mr Griffiths is able to produce booklets of music, lyrics, narration and a CD of backing tracks as well as specially commissioned pieces for any subject on the National Curriculum.

He has already written a number of musicals and one – Ezra’s Tale – was recently performed by 14 local schools at Kidderminster Town Hall.

Anabela Ferreira, of Business Link, said: “Interest in what John has to offer is spreading fast and the market for it is huge.

“He’s always trying to think of new ways to improve education and this approach seems popular with both the children and the teachers.”

Further information can be obtained on 0845 113 1234 or visit www. businesslinkwm.co.uk

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