Brianna gets best present ever - with strings attached

A YOUNG music prodigy whose family could not afford to buy her a much-needed violin has been left stunned after she was gifted an instrument worth £1000.

Brianna Keir, who lives with her grandparents in Oxgangs, thought she was simply featuring in a documentary at Stringers music shop when she was handed the top-class violin.

She spent an hour admiring instruments at the York Place shop before being told that she could have one.

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There had been a worry that Brianna might have to stop playing as she had grown too big for her current instrument, and her family could not afford to replace it. But the six-year-old was highlighted to not-for-profit organisation Random Acts.

Teaming up with Stringers, it took Brianna around the shop under the pretence of filming a documentary. After she picked out her favourite violin, they revealed that it was hers to keep.

Her grandfather, Allan, 58, who cares for Brianna with his wife, Helen, 52, said: "They got in touch with Brianna's teacher, Diana Catherine, and organised the whole thing without us knowing.

"We thought we were going to go in, buy the shoulder rest, and leave. But when we went upstairs and looked at the violins they said 'You can have one'. That took the wind out of my sails.

"The one she picked had what looked like a letter 'B' on the back. It was a crack in the varnish, but we took it as a sign that it was for her.Brianna was absolutely delighted. She said it was the happiest day of her life."

Tracy McKee, who works for Random Acts, said: "Brianna took up the violin aged three and she was a natural. But three months into Brianna's learning, money became tight for her grandparents and they put her violin away because they were unable to fund further lessons and wanted to nip her burgeoning love of the instrument in the bud before she became too attached.

"Unfortunately, Brianna was very upset. In desperation, her grandparents went to Diana, her teacher, who contacted the Waddell Trust.

"Fortunately the Trust saw the situation as exceptional, as Brianna had been making very quick progress, and agreed to finance her lessons.

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"Brianna is exceptionally talented for her age. She is able to play pieces that are of a more advanced level than high school pupils would play in their performances at Advanced Higher level."

Brianna, who cites Vanessa Mae and Nicola Benedetti amongst her heroes, said: "When I went to the shop I thought I was just getting a shoulder rest. I didn't know what to say when they told me the real reason I was there, I was so happy. So far it was the best day of my life. I just love everything about playing the violin."