Ethan is an inspiration

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An inspiring young pianist who was born blind travelled to the Vatican in Rome to receive recognition for his outstanding musical talent.

Ethan Loch from Bonnybridge was named as the Overall Winner (Vincitore Assoluto) at the 15th International Giuseppe Sciacca Awards, which are sponsored by the Vatican.

It recognises young people from around the world who have excelled in their field of knowledge or art and have distinguished themselves as a worthy role model for society.

Ethan (12), who currently studies at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, has been playing the piano since he was a toddler, quickly excelling at music lessons despite having been blind from birth.

The award’s jury chose him for his inspirational commitment to his craft, extraordinary piano skills and his message that talent and passion can help us overcome difficulties.

The youngster was given his award at a televised ceremony in the Pontifical Urbaniana University where he delivered a moving speech and wowed the crowd with a performance of music by Edvard Grieg and Claude Debussy.

Paul Stubbings, director of music at St Mary’s Music School, said: “It was a joy to be in the audience at the Vatican to witness Ethan receiving this award from the Giuseppe Sciacca Foundation on behalf of St Mary’s Music School.

“This special award recognises both Ethan’s musical talents, as well as his dedication and commitment and the whole school is incredibly proud of his achievements.”