A talented young pupil from the Robert Burns Academy (RBA) recently performed at 10 Downing Street as part of a Burns night reception.

Kirsty Gemmell played the accordion alongside Heather Anderson from Kilmarnock Academy as part of a group of senior players from the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra (AFO).

At the invitation of the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the group was also invited to entertain MPs at the House of Commons.

Cumnock Chronicle: Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra group photo.Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra group photo. (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

Two separate performances within the Palace of Westminster - organised by Central Ayrshire MP Dr Philippa Whitford and hosted by Allan Dorans, the MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock - were attended by a number of MPs, their guests and Parliament officials.

Those performances were followed by a day of touring Parliament and sitting in on Prime Minister’s Question Time, before performing at Number 10 for the Prime Minister’s Burns Night reception, attended by, among others, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who is both an MP and an MSP.

The visit was rounded off by a lunchtime concert in the Scotland Office in Whitehall to celebrate Burns Day itself - a performance which was streamed live to several government departments, including the Scotland Office in Whitehall.

It's not the first time the AFO has been invited to perform in London for Burns Night - and it's the second time Kirsty has been part of the contingent.

Tracy Stewart, head teacher at the Robert Burns Academy, said: “I am so proud of Kirsty. Not many people can say they have performed in the Palace of Westminster and 10 Downing Street, and she’s done it twice.

"Kirsty seized this amazing opportunity with both hands and showed just how talented she is.

"Well done Kirsty. You are a credit to your family, our school and our community.”

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Councillor Elaine Cowan, the council’s spokesperson for education, children and young people, added: “I would like to congratulate Heather Anderson from Kilmarnock Academy and Kirsty Gemmell from the Robert Burns Academy for being selected to represent the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, and East Ayrshire, in London for Burns Day celebrations.

"What an incredible experience for Heather, Kirsty and the whole group.

"I know that Allan Dorans MP visited them in Westminster and let them know how proud he was, and I can only echo these sentiments.”

As well as Kirsty and Heather, the AFO contingent also included Ross Neillie and Alistair McMahon from Belmont Academy in Ayr, Daniel Robinson from Prestwick Academy, and Hannah Carrie from Jordanhill School in Glasgow.

The group was led by AFO directors Euan and Kathleen Terras.

Euan said: “These can be daunting venues for a small group of young musicians to perform at, but their performances were brilliant and standard of musicianship absolutely superb.

"We are very proud of them!"