PROFOUNDLY deaf Norman McLaren astounds audiences when he picks up his piano accordion and plays.

The accomplished musician and his wife Elaine, 63, who is also deaf, have raised thousands for charity over the years and are now setting up their own organisation to benefit adults and children with special needs.

Using the latest technology, Norman, 67, from Brockclough Road, Whitewell Bottom, can now play with confidence as a bluetooth adapter called an M-Dex that he wears around his neck links straight to his hearing aid.

For the past 11 years they have been raising money for the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People by delivering talks all over Lancashire and North Manchester with their hearing dog Kip.

At each talk they would normally raise on average £30 to £50, until Norman introduced his musical talent and then the money rolled in. At first he would play for just five minutes at the end of a talk about their lives with Kip. Norman said: “It all changed when we went to the United Reformed Church in Blackburn this March.

“The pianist had not turned up and I said I could play the accordion and so I played Amazing Grace at the start and they all sang.

“I did a shorter talk and then played a variety of tunes for 45 minutes and it went down really well. We doubled what we would normally raise.

“The third time we did the speech ‘Deaf Performer Creating Music’ was in Rochdale for the Wednesday Club and we had a lady give us £25, another gave us a bundle of notes and there was £100, by the end of the performance we had raised £175 for the charity.”

Sadly Kip died in July and it affected both Elaine and Norman badly because the King Charles cavalier/cocker spaniel cross had been a part of their lives since 2001.

Kip would help them to know if someone had called at the door, when the phone was ringing, if the smoke detector sounded and when someone needed their attention.

When she died they cancelled previously booked talks and held a funeral for Kip at his favourite walking spot in the forest above Water, where they spread his ashes.

But now they are planning to return to giving talks this time using Norman’s musical ability to raise funds for children and adults with special needs. All the talks will be dedicated to Kip’s memory.

For more information about Norman text 07703 067 350