Jeremy Newton has collected some of his fondest memories at the charity ahead of his departure this month.

There are so many highlights from my time at Children and the Arts. So many that it’s difficult to single out a few, but I’ll have a try.

My first project visit was a chilly day in early 2009. I travelled up to the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. Their 3-year Start project was nearing its end and the project finale was taking place at the Arts Centre. The children put on an all-singing, all-dancing performance for parents, teachers and each other. They really raised the roof and gave me an early sense of the quality of work achievable by children once their imaginations have been fired and their skills have been steadily developed.

Since then, I’ve visited many Start projects and have been struck most often by the care and professionalism of the venue staff. They have always worked tirelessly to extend a really impactful welcome to the children and young people involved in the projects. In places as far afield as DanceEast in Ipswich, Edinburgh Festival Theatre and Belfast Exposed in Northern Ireland, I’ve seen work of the highest quality presented to children in ways which have had the deepest possible impact.
Some of the most moving and memorable moments have been during visits to children’s hospices. For example, the hospices in Yorkshire, Cambridge and East London, where there are whole families that have clearly experienced transformational episodes of joy and togetherness. Accompanying one of our amazing Ambassadors (jazz saxophonist YoLanda Brown) to the Milton hospice in Cambridge, we were both inspired and deeply affected by the impact of YoLanda’s playing on many of the children.

Speaking of Ambassadors, many of my CATA highlights relate to phenomenal performances at major events. I have been lucky enough to enjoy such diverse performances as Julian Ovenden and Danielle de Niese performing the 'Balcony Scene' from West Side Story, Adrian Lester singing Michael Kamen's amazing setting of 'Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day' at a Buckingham Palace Gala, violinist Jennifer Pike playing 'Lark Ascending', Brian Blessed doing his spectacular party piece of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' at our annual carol concert and Joe Fiennes and Miranda Raison playing Romeo & Juliet at St James's Palace.

It has been pure joy to work at Children & the Arts. I've learned so much and made so many lifelong friendships. All I can really say is thank you!