Thursday, 10 March 2016


Born in Orkney, Amy Moar was a remarkable and talented musician, and I recall with fondness the series of events that would lead me to the moment that I first heard her sing, a moment in time that I and many others, will never forget.

Occasionally an opportunity comes along that you instinctively know you cannot say no to. Something that may well have a profound influence on a great many people and will be remembered for a long time to come.

It was just such an opportunity that knocked at my door in mid 2003. I was asked if I would be interested in volunteering to produce a film of a visit to Scotland by HH the 14th Dalai Lama in June of 2004.

I had to think a moment. Not!

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was on my birthday in 2000, whilst in India, that I caught my first glimpse of this amazing man. At very close quarters. I will never forget it. I was standing on a narrow road in McLeod Ganj, exiled home of the Tibetan spiritual leader, waiting for his Range Rover to squeeze past the hordes of people. As it did so, very slowly, it came to a halt right beside me, and there, directly in front of me, staring back was His Holiness. He looked directly at me, and smiled. It felt almost as if he recognised me. It was quite a moment.

But nothing prepared me for four years later. I was to have Access-All-Areas security clearance during his visit, and followed him everywhere with three camera crews. There were camera-free times as well, such as at lunch. At one such moment I was sat with the organiser Victor Spence, when who should come and sit at the chair right beside me! I probably sat there with my mouth wide open, staring. I can't really remember.

There were many highlights of the visit, one of which was a public address and Q&A in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Again, it was a privilege to be so close to him, and even more so to hold his hand during a crew photo at the end.

But the most memorable moment was right at the end. A 12 year old girl called Amy Moar came on to stage to sing for His Holiness, accompanied by a good friend, and now world famous harpist, Phamie Gow.

Amy Moar sang beautifully. Music was the strength in her life. She was entirely blind from birth, and suffered from a growth syndrome called Saldino-Mainzer, where her body would never grow beyond the size of a 4 year old. She had been through a kidney transplant that had saved her life, and her young spine was triple curving. She was a remarkable and resilient girl.

I say was, because it breaks my heart to find out that she died at the age of 24 on February 29th.

In the years after singing that day in 2004, Amy went on to be an accomplished musician, recently completing a BA honours in Music Performance, at the University of Abertay.

At the end of Amy's song, The Why of a Miracle, the Dalai Lama rose to his feet and walked over and up some steps to Amy, where he blessed a Tibetan white scarf and placed it round her neck, giving her a hug. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house, including our film crews. Even writing this, 16 years on, chokes me up.

So I thought it was a fitting tribute to Amy to edit a 5 minute clip of the time she sang for His Holiness in 2004 at age 12, ending with that special moment between the two of them, and share it with you here:


Anonymous said...

A lovely blog Graham. Pauline

Anonymous said...

Amy's small stature was due the the renal failure associated with the syndrome. Post transplant she did in fact grow to 4'9".
She very much enjoyed singing for H.H. On two occasions. The song here was written by Janet Anderson and originally recorded to raise funds for Scottish Love in Action's orphanage for Dalit children in Tuni, India. Amy Moar's Legacy Fund continues to support this charity and Drake Music Scotland with whom Amy recently trained as a Developing Potential community musician. Many thanks for posting. A. M. Mum.