An internationally acclaimed pianist performed to a packed Assembly House in Norwich to raise awareness of refugee issues. Margaret Fingerhut chose composers many who were themselves refugees because of war or persecution, such as Haydn, Grieg and Prokofiev. By performing their pieces, she aims to raise the profile of the City of Sanctuary movement, which is committed to seeing a culture of hospitality grow across the UK.
Salah el Nagar, who fled Egypt after being persecuted for his political views spoke at the event. When he first arrived in the UK he described how hard it was: “The days seemed like years. I hoped to be busy, even for just one day.” It was the support of local refugee groups in Norwich that gave him great hope and allowed him to build a life here. Ben Margolis from City of Sanctuary added: “Our movement is all about small acts of kindness which we can do to welcome people. I would ask you to think about what you can do. It could be your scout group, your chapel, your organisation. Ask yourself what you could do to make Norwich a City of Sanctuary.”
After the event, Violet Cummings from Cringleford said: “It was a rare treat to hear such an accomplished pianist perform here. The concert resonated more because the theme of exile and refugees was obviously so important to the pianist.”
Margaret Fingerhut is hoping to raise £88,000 for the City of Sanctuary movement as she tours with this concert across the UK.