AN acclaimed saxophonist from Ulverston has been recognised for her services to music in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an MBE.

23-year-old musician and presenter Jess Gillam said it came ‘as a complete shock’ to find out she had been given the prestigious award and thanked her hometown for ‘all the support’.

“I feel extremely touched to receive this award, especially in a year where so many people have done such incredible and selfless things,” she said.

“It’s very unexpected and a complete surprise - I’m very grateful to all of those who have supported me and to have had the opportunity to learn an instrument in the first place.

“Music has changed my life and I’m passionate about sharing its magic with other people!

“A huge thank you to everyone in Ulverston for all of the support.

“It’s been amazing to come from such a supportive community.”

Since performing at the Last Night of the Proms in 2018 and having her performance described as ‘the indisputable highlight’ by BBC News, the young musician has gone from strength to strength and continues to grow her international career as well as presenting on TV and radio.

She is the first ever saxophonist to be signed to Decca Classics and recently released her second album, ‘TIME’, which shot to No.1 in the Official UK Classical Charts, as did her debut album ‘RISE’.

The music extraordinaire has been the recipient of a Classic BRIT Award (in the Sound of Classical Poll) and was the first ever saxophonist to reach the final of BBC Young Musician.

In 2019, she performed live at the BAFTAs to millions of viewers at home.

But she says her proudest moment was continuing to share music despite the pandemic.

During lockdown she launched her Virtual Scratch Orchestra, inviting musicians of any standard to come together to play music virtually with her. The orchestra played music by David Bowie and The Beatles as well as a Christmas special of Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride’.

Over 2,000 people from around 30 different countries took part across the two projects, aged 2-94.

“I’ve been so lucky to have so many amazing opportunities and opportunities to play to people all over the world,” said Jess.

“But the most valuable, rewarding experience, is when I see the impact of music on other people.

“So setting up the Virtual Scratch Orchestra last year in lockdown is probably one my proudest moments.

“Bringing people together and giving them light in dark times.”

Jess will perform music from her chart-topping album ‘TIME’ on tour for the first time in eight locations across England from June 26 – August 25 and said she is ‘really looking forward’ to performing live once again.

She will be joined by a small ensemble made up of a group of musicians from a wide range of musical backgrounds but with roots in classical music.

The Jess Gillam Ensemble includes Roberts Balanas and Michael Jones (violins); Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola); Gabriella Swallow (cello); Sam Becker (bass); Elsa Bradley (percussion) and Leif Kaner-Lidstrom (piano).