Charity benefits after garden centre bosses say, ‘Play it again, Sam’

Sam Peoples

A partially-sighted pianist has been entertaining customers at his workplace to raise funds for charity.

Sam Peoples, from Duntocher near Clydebank, is employed part-time by Dobbies Garden Centre in nearby Milngavie, where he has worked for 11 years as a car park attendant and groundsman.

But the self-taught musician, 28, amazed colleagues with his skills when he took to playing the store’s piano on his tea breaks earlier this year.

And when a video of him performing attracted thousands of viewers on social media, managers decided to take him off trolley duty and give him a platform for his talents.

Sam, who is studying computing at Glasgow Caledonian University, was asked to take up residence in the centre’s café.

He is often given tips by his growing number of fans – but kind-hearted Sam insists that they are put in a collection bucket for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice, the store’s Charity of the Year.

He said: “My boss’s pal filmed me playing on her phone and put it on Facebook and more than 30,000 people watched it.

“So they said to me that they wanted me to do it permanently because it brings so many customers into the store.

“I just play for my own enjoyment, I’ve no interest in doing it professionally.

“I’m grateful to the management here for giving me the chance to do this and to McLaren’s Pianos in Glasgow, who donated the piano to Dobbies.

“I’ve raised money for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice before, when I was at school, and being from Clydebank I know about the reputation they have in the community.”

Sam first played the keyboard before he had started school and briefly took lessons at the age of seven.

Although he played in his spare time in the years that followed, Sam only began playing seriously three years ago when he was given a grand piano by a relative.

He is unable to read music because he is blind in one eye and can’t see fully from the other – meaning he relies on his ear to pick up melodies.

Sam’s disability resulted from being born prematurely, weighing just 2lb 2oz. The retina in his right eye detached from the optical nerve when he was given oxygen to aid his breathing.

He added: “I learn much better if I just listen to a tune and practise. I play all sorts of music, from the Eagles and Elton John to Dire Straits and the Stereophonics.

“But I’ve had to learn some of the older classics for the customers in the store – things like Elvis, Sinatra and Patsy Cline.”

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice Chief Executive Sister Rita said: “Sam’s talent and dedication are an inspiration and we are very humbled that he has chosen to raise funds for the Hospice in this way.

“We would like to say thank you to Sam and the management at Dobbies Garden Centre for their continued support.”