One-Handed Boy Meets One-Handed Pianist
Brave one-handed boy Orlando Paraskeva has met his hero – a man who has become a renowned concert pianist despite also having just one hand.
Seven-year-old Orlando met musician Nicholas McCarthy at The Queens Hotel in Cheltenham for a Carers Gloucestershire lunch and piano recital.
Both Orlando and Nicholas were born without a hand – Orlando his left, Nicholas the right.
After seeing Nicholas – the first one-handed Royal College of Music graduate – playing the piano in a video, Orlando was inspired to take up the instrument himself.
Orlando, from Uley in Stroud, said: “Mum told me about Nicholas. We watched him on YouTube and I thought he was really good.”
He added: “I was very nervous and shy meeting him.”
Orlando’s mum Melanie, a charity worker for Allsorts, brought home a keyboard which had been donated to the charity youth group by a local shop which was closing down.
After meeting Orlando, 24-year-old Nicholas – the patron of Carers Gloucestershire – said: “It was fantastic. I often get a lot of people with limb deficiencies come to my concerts.
“It’s so lovely for me to see, because obviously when I grew up there wasn’t another one-handed pianist, so I think it’s quite special for me to be able to do that.
Melanie added: “It’s fantastic to see someone who is young and accessible playing classical music.
“I saw the concert in one of the Carers Gloucestershire newsletters and I thought ‘wow, Orlando would like that’.
“I called Carers Gloucestershire to see if we could sneak in the back, never expecting that we’d be allowed to sit at the front and watch him and even get to meet him.”
The charity supports carers in the county.