Clarinet player performs at local railway station to curb his loneliness

Clarinet player performs at local railway station to curb his loneliness
Philip Lowe, who has been playing his clarinet at Penrith railway station to entertain customers and staff with his music for 10 years (Stuart Walker/Avanti West Coast)
PA Media - Stuart Walker/Avanti West Coast

A clarinet player who performs at his local railway station to feel less lonely hopes to “bring comfort” to commuters.

Philip Lowe, 79, regularly performs at Penrith station in Cumbria to inspire the public to play music.

“I hope my performances bring comfort to people and inspire others to play music,” he said.

Mr Lowe, whose wife lives with Alzheimer’s, said he can feel isolated so performs at Penrith to socialise with people at the station.

Railway station clarinet playerClarinet player Philip Lowe performs at Penrith railway station, Cumbria (Stuart Walker/Avanti West Coast)PA Media - Stuart Walker/Avanti West Coast

“Sometimes I get a bit lonely, so I come to the station to play my clarinet,” Mr Lowe said.

“I love having a laugh – it makes me feel good. I want to bring that feeling to other people through my music. My instrument helps to break the ice.”

He also enjoys singing with his wife and said music helps him to recall memories of his friends and family.

“Music gives me a sense of nostalgia – it reminds me of my memories, parents, friends, places, and adventures. My wife and I sing together and it’s a great comfort for us,” he said.

The clarinettist, who lives three miles from the station, described Penrith as a “great place to be”.

“I’ve played at railway stations elsewhere in the world but there is nowhere else quite like Penrith,” Mr Lowe said.

“It is a great place to be – the staff and customers are friendly. They tolerate my music and the Avanti West Coast team have made me and my wife incredibly welcome.”

Mr Lowe, originally from Manchester and born into a musical family, has played the clarinet since the age of 12 and is known for taking his instrument wherever he goes.

The pensioner turned his passion for music into a 40-year career as a piano tuner and he also owned a music shop in Lincoln for around 20 years and refurbished instruments.

Mark Green, Avanti West Coast station manager at Penrith, said Mr Lowe’s performance brings joy to commuters.

“We love welcoming Philip to the station to play his clarinet,” he said.

“He offers a warm greeting to those travelling to and from Penrith and we enjoy hearing his music as much as he enjoys playing it.

“Philip brings smiles to so many faces on the platforms of Penrith with his conversation and songs. He’s a friendly face, which we’re sure offers comfort to everyone he comes across.”

Railway station clarinet playerAvanti West Coast staff regularly welcome Philip Lowe to Penrith railway station (Stuart Walker/Avanti West Coast)PA Media - Stuart Walker/Avanti West Coast

Penny Giles, local services manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Cumbria, described Mr Lowe’s performances as a “wonderful” way to help him to feel connected to his local community.

“At Alzheimer’s Society we know that music has tremendous therapeutic benefits for people living with dementia and their carers, who can become quite isolated,” she said.

“Our most recent research shows that one in three people with dementia will feel cut off this Christmas and many carers will also experience a sense of isolation.

“As one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime it’s incredibly important that all of society becomes more dementia friendly.”

Ms Giles thanked Mr Lowe for sharing his passion for music with commuters at Penrith station and raising awareness of Alzheimer’s.

She said: “We applaud Philip and the Avanti West Coast team at Penrith for raising awareness of the issue and wish them many happy performances.”

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