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A big-hearted student from Merton College raised over £500 for Macmillan by auctioning a guitar he handcrafted during his lessons. 30-year-old Steven Richardson, a musical instrument making and repair student, chose to raise money for the cancer charity after his aunt died of the disease last year.

Steven, who lives in Streatham, said: "My aunt's wish was for donations to be made to Macmillan nurses as they really helped her in her last days. Whilst there was a whip around, I didn't feel that it would be enough on my part. So I decided to build a guitar and auction it off, in the hope of making more than just £20 in a cup."

After approaching companies to contribute materials, Steven found people were impressed with his positive attitude and supportive of the project. He had all the high-quality wood of the guitar donated and with a little help from his music technology tutors at Merton College he spent a total of 127 hours crafting the instrument, even attending college in his spare time. The hard work paid off when the eBay auction was won with a final bid of £510.

merton college musical instrument making Steve MIT news image

Steven explained: "I couldn't believe it when I saw the bid had reached £500. I thought if it sold for £300 I'd be happy, I never dreamed it would reach as much as it did. It just goes to show how generous people are when it comes to a good cause."

Steven has shown a real flair for the craft, despite having only studied the part-time course for a year. Following a severe spinal injury which forced him to give up his job as a carpenter, he decided to embark on a new direction.

He continued: "Carpentry was all I knew, so I had two choices: sit and waste away, or get up and do something. I have an inquisitive mind, I love puzzles and problem solving, and that's what a lot of this is. Working out what works well, what doesn't, if there's a problem, how to go about fixing it, and of course the gratification at having actually built your own instrument."

If you're interested in studying musical instrument making and repair see our courses here or come along to the Merton College open day on Saturday 30 November, 11am – 2pm.