A Nanaimo woman is petitioning to have her parents recognized with a cultural award from the city.
Thelma Bradbury said her parents overcame great personal adversity to teach music and tune and repair pianos in the area, and has collected roughly 120 signatures from other residents who are supportive of the idea.
She plans on submitting an application to the city's culture committee before the Sept. 6 deadline.
The annual Cultural Awards are held each year to highlight people or organizations that make a significant contribution to arts and culture in the city. Past recipients include Diana Krall and the Vancouver Island Symphony.
Bradbury's father Robert Booth Jr. lost his eyesight as a child after accidentally setting off a blasting cap being stored in his father's shed.
The young boy was sent to England for surgery to repair the damage, but lost his sight following the operation. Bradbury's grandparents enrolled Robert Jr. at a school for blind children in Berkeley, Calif., where he learned to read braille at 13.
He studied music, eventually passing his Conservatory of Music exams. He later met Bradbury's mother Lillian, who had lost her hearing following a childhood illness.
The two married and joined forces to provide for their three children. Robert Jr. gave music lessons and tuned pianos in homes, churches and halls throughout Nanaimo and elsewhere on Vancouver Island, while Lillian would drive him to appointments and assist him where she could.
"My dad was my mother's ears and my mother was my dad's eyes," said Bradbury.
"They didn't go and end up on skid row or anything like that," she said.
"They made a life."
Bradbury has long advocated recognition for her parents. She started the Robert and Lillian Booth Memorial Piano Fund in 1993 to pay for a Steinway Concert Grand Piano in her parents' name. The piano is located at the Port Theatre and used for concerts. It arrived in the city in March 2002.
Her father's piano tuning tools are also on display at the Port.
Robert Booth Jr. died in the '60s at age 69. Lillian died three decades later at age 91.
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