Jan 2017 Bognor Regis Observer
Bognor Regis man and national music prizewinner Al Gardner has chosen to spend his prize on a guitar and will receive music lessons for a year. He has used the MED-EL UK Music Grant money to invest in a guitar, guitar lessons and sheet music.
It was a big moment for Al, who has hereditary hearing loss and was totally deaf until he received a cochlear implant in 2014. In his application, he said learning any musical instrument had been beyond the capability of his hearing for 30 years and as a child, he was never given the opportunity. Most of the time during his 25 years of hearing aid use, music was an irritation that sounded like tearing paper off in the distance. Al said: “Since activation of my cochlear implant, I have done nothing but listen to music all day. I keep taking the hearing aid out of my other ear because I just can’t believe what I’m hearing through my implant. The music is absolutely fantastic. I think It would be amazing to just be able to play a guitar well enough to entertain my friends around the camp fire and after a year of professional lessons, who knows what the limit would be.” Al, who makes parachute equipment, has never let anything hold him back in life and his passions include BASE jumping, an extreme sport like skydiving but from much lower altitudes.