Gifted musician is seeking help to fulfil her American dream
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A gifted and talented teenager has launched a fund raising appealing to help her take up her place to study music at one of America's most prestigious universities.
Ellie Pybus, 18, from Oulton Broad, in Lowestoft, beat off competition from 9,000 other hopefuls from 58 countries to earn one of just 30 places on a three-year music degree at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston.
However, the former Elm Tree Primary School student has been forced to defer her place until May 2015 because she is £40,000 short of the £120,000 needed to accept the place.
Ellie's parent Chris, a retired Lowestoft police officer, and Helen, a zumba and pilates instructor, have been working hard to raise the money needed.
Ellie is also saving the money she earns as a member of the entertainment team at Potter's Leisure Resort in Hopton and said she will keep deferring the start of her course until she has the full funds.
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However, the family is hoping she will be able to take up her place sooner and is appealing for help to raise the final sum needed.
Ellie said: 'My mum and dad have worked their boots off for me and I love them very much.
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'They have thought about re mortgaging the house but I have said no. I don't want to put them through any more stress.
'My mum is planning lots of fitness events to raise money and planning competitions, which should hopefully help.
'The same goes for me. I am putting my wages away towards saving up any money we can.
'Not going to Berklee isn't really an option for me. I will be going even if it kills me. I can defer for as long as I want to until I can get the money.'
Ellie's love of music was inspired by her grandfather Bill Akerman, 82, who played keyboard and mouth organ to her as a child.
She received her first instrument - a £2 keyboard from a car boot sale - when she was eight years old and Mr Akerman taught Ellie her first scale.
Her musical ability was spotted soon after at Elm Tree Primary School, where she was placed on the 'gifted and talented' register.
Aged 10 she was offered a music scholarship at Saint Felix School in Reydon and at 16 she was accepted into Tring Park Performing Arts School in Hertfordshire on both musical theatre and music scholarships.
Ellie said her grandfather, who lives in Birmingham, was now suffering from Alzheimer's and was not able to appreciate her success.
She said: 'He can't say very much now because of the Alzheimer's but I think he would be really proud and happy for me.
'This would have been a dream career for him and to know he was responsible for starting me off on this path would make him really proud.'
?The first fund raising event for Ellie will be a one-off fitness class led by Mrs Pybus at Fen Park Primary School on Friday, September 12 from 6.30pm to 8pm. It will last 90 minutes and feature three 30-minute sessions of Zumba, legs, bums and tums and pilates. Entry costs £8.
?Donations to the Ellie Pybus Sponsorship Fund can be made directly to the fund's HSBC bank account using sort code 40-30-28 and account number 61716522.