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National Youth Jazz Orchestra head Nigel Tully appointed MBE

Nigel Tully Image copyright Ted Rockley
Image caption Nigel Tully, 74, of Markyate, near Luton, has been honoured for his services to music

The head of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which has inspired thousands of people including the late Amy Winehouse, has been appointed an MBE.

Nigel Tully, 74, has been honoured for his services to music.

Since 2009, Mr Tully, of Markyate, near Luton, has helped secure the future of the orchestra and brought in more than £1m in funding.

He told the BBC he hoped his appointment would "increase the visibility" of the orchestra (NYJO).

Image copyright Carl Hyde
Image caption The National Youth Jazz Orchestra regularly performs at Ronnie Scott's

Under Mr Tully's management, he helped the organisation achieve Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation status.

The jazz guitarist has also been involved in promoting jazz in the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

A former manager with IBM, Mr Tully has also led the Dark Blues for over 50 years, a band that has performed more than 5,000 gigs, with up to 500 raising money for charities at no fee.

He said: "I am humbled to be honoured with this award, and to join an ever-growing list of my colleagues in jazz to be recognised for their passion and commitment to the music.

Image copyright Carl Hyde
Image caption NYJO promotes jazz for musicians up to the age of 25

"This award is a great thing for jazz as well as NYJO, and I hope it will add weight to our ongoing campaign to achieve the same levels of recognition, funding and infrastructure for jazz as are enjoyed by other art forms."

He said he hoped the MBE would help "increase the visibility of NYJO in the arts establishment. It has some of the most creative musicians in the country. If they played classical music they would be showered with honours".

Musicians and singers who were supported by NYJO include Guy Barker, Amy Winehouse and Strictly Come Dancing band leader Dave Arch.

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