TWO Southend charity heroes are on a mission to unlock the potential of children with learning difficulties around the world through music and performance.

Tim Gocher, 48, a former teacher at Westcliff High School for Boys, and former Leigh town councillor, David Stanley, are transforming the lives of hundreds of people across some of the poorest countries in the world through the charities they helped set up.

Tim is founder of the Dolma Foundation, which supports the education for children with learning disabilities and disadvantaged backgrounds in Nepal.

David is also founder of Southend Mencap and the award-winning Music Man Project, which provides a music education service for children and adults with learning disabilities.

David and Tim joined forces to teach songs to 50 children with learning difficulties at the Navjyoti Special School in Kathmandu.

The children then performed to hundreds of people at a concert at the British School. Guests included the British Ambassador to Nepal Richard Morris.

David has previously showcased the brilliance of 200 students with learning difficulties during a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, a huge celebration of learning difficulty musicianship in the UK.

Tim said: “Since 2003, Dolma Foundation has sought different methods to educate children with disabilities in Nepal.

“Music Man’s achievements were nothing short of remarkable. They brought the extraordinary abilities of these special children to a society that is less aware of such conditions compared to the UK.

“This method could be key to special needs education in developing countries. It was a joy to be in the audience.”

David added: “Whether performing to thousands in the West End or in a small corner of Kathmandu, we provide a platform for people with learning disabilities to change the way they are viewed by their communities.

It took a 20-year campaign to reach the Albert Hall. Fortunately, the rest of the world is joining us far quicker.”

David will soon visit New York courtesy of a Churchill Fellowship awarded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. His report will show governments how to increase the scope and impact of accessible music education and performance for the learning-disabled community across the world.

David’s teaching forms part of ground-breaking PhD research at the Royal College of Music by Music Man project director, Natalie Bradford.

The success of the latest project in Nepal will feature in her study, entitled “What is the effect of active music participation on the well-being of people with Down’s Syndrome?”

The Music Man Project will visit Philippines and Guatemala in 2020.

David added: “We are exploring how far the common language of music can be used to free the constraints placed on people with a learning disability across the world.

“We are joining together through song, country by country. Music is a universal language, but its ability to connect people with additional needs from across the globe has remained unexplored – until now.”