Musical duo Charlie and Molly nominated for YOPEY award

Young singers Molly Armstrong, and Charlie O'Connor, performing at Liberty Belle, Ely.

Young singers Molly Armstrong, and Charlie O'Connor, performing at Liberty Belle, Ely. - Credit: Archant

Two teenage musicians who have raised thousands of pounds for charity by performing have been nominated for the Cambridgeshire Young People of the Year awards.

Charlie O’Connor and Molly Armstrong perform gigs and busk around the county and sell their CD to help good causes such as The Teenage Cancer Trust, Children in Need and The Arthur Rank Hospice.

Charlie, aged 17, of Cam Drive, Ely, and Molly, 16, of Main Street, Little Downham, were nominated by Charlie’s mum Alison.

“They have known each other since they were 10 years old when they met at swimming club,” said Alison.

However, it took a few more years before the pair joined forces. Eighteen months ago at King’s School, Ely, they became an acoustic duo. Charlie is the guitarist and Molly the singer.

Alison said: “They were both appearing separately at a school event and were persuaded to perform a song together. Teachers, parents and friends had been telling them for ages they should get together – but you can’t tell teenagers anything, can you? They had to figure it for themselves.

“Molly forgot her guitar at an open mic night and had to ask Charlie to accompany her while performing Hey Soul Sister. In a few minutes and with no rehearsal Charlie learned the chords and was on stage. Molly punched him everytime there was a key change – they brought the house down and have not looked back since.”

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The duo started gigging at places such as Ely Cathedral, The Brook entertainment venue in Soham, Burwell Carnival, and even outside shops. Often they help other people fundraise with their performances.

But they soon realised it would be a great idea if they raised money for charity themselves while they were singing.

To raise funds for The Lisa Barnes Memorial, which raises money for The Arthur Rank Hospice in the name of a late patient, who came from Ely, they recorded a CD of their favourite songs at The Hub Sound Studios in Cambridge.

They had 1000 CDs printed and are selling them for £8 each. With nearly half sold they have raised nearly £4000 for the hospice already. They are aiming to raise £10,000.

Both Molly and Charlie are now in the sixth-form at Impington College, near Cambridge.

Molly who is studying A-levels in drama, performing arts, media and English literature, said she has been singing since she was eight and loves 60s music, and old time stuff like Glenn Miller, jazz and soul.

Charlie, who is studying A-levels in music, drama, performing arts and dance, has been playing guitar for more than five years.

On March 27, the duo will be supporting veteran rock and roller Marty Wilde at The Brook in Soham.

This year’s Cambs YOPEY is sponsored by Lifeplus Europe of Eaton Socon, Hutchinson of Wisbech, Spearhead International of Burwell, Cambridge Regional College, TTP Group of Melbourn and Cambridge companies ARM and Stratagem, and exams group Cambridge Assessment.

The YOPEY charity has also received donations from Cambridgeshire County Council, The Micron Group of Ely, and Cresset of Litlington.

# Do you know somebody who deserves the title Young Person of the Year? To nominate logon to or write, enclosing a stamped-addressed-envelope, to YOPEY, Woodfarm Cottage, Bury Road, Stradishall, Newmarket CB8 8YN for a paper entry form. Entries close on April 30.

YOPEY is open to young people, aged 10-25, who should live, work or study in Cambridgeshire. But they do not have to meet all three conditions. They could go to school, college or university in Cambs but live elsewhere and vice versa.