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meet Anna Lapwood, the ‘TikTok organist’ bringing the inst…

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Lapwood, the daughter of a vicar, might well be classical music’s patron saint – sent to inspire devotion in a new generation. Now with a million followers across all of her social media touch points, Pembroke College ‘have got used to random people coming to evensong and wanting photos of me,’ she laughs. Lapwood receives close to 300 messages a day across all the different platforms. ‘My management is inundated as well,’ she says. ‘We had to put an auto-reply on Facebook because, I think, a lot of people will message and think that you will read it and get cross if you don’t – and it’s trying to explain that I really desperately wish I had the time to sit there and read through every single message.’

Even Lapwood, arguably classical music’s most benevolent being, experiences trolls ‘all the time’. ‘It’s a really difficult thing when you first experience it – because, I mean, we’re all people pleasers. I’m a massive people pleaser,’ she admits. ‘I had to just let myself not care which is really difficult when, I think, like 75% of people will like what you’re doing and 25% won’t, for whatever reason,’ she shrugs. ‘There’s no point arguing with them – you just have to switch it off.’

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Lapwood politely turns down my question asking whereabouts she lives in London or Cambridge, which one week later becomes devastatingly clear. ‘I tend not to talk about where I live if that’s okay, I’ve had some weird stuff,’ she answers. A week after her Prom it’s reported that Lapwood’s 36-year-old American stalker, Elliot Bennet, who followed her back to the UK following her US tour, has been sentenced to six months in prison and given an indefinite restraining order. ‘I was followed from coast to coast in the US, back to the UK, and to my workplace in Cambridge. It got to the point that he refused to go away – I had to be escorted everywhere,’ Lapwood wrote in a statement posted to her social media on 2 August. He would turn up to all her post-performance meet-and-greet events and his obsessive behaviour rapidly escalated in a ‘terrifying way’.

Lapwood has written that she can ‘breathe in peace again’ following his imprisonment. This might also be aided by another figure in her life. The day before we speak, the day before Lapwood’s Prom, she does a #boyfriendreveal on TikTok set to Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E. They’ve been together for ‘ages’ but Lapwood had been sitting on the announcement. ‘He’s a singer and an engineer… he loves inventing things,’ she says, including ‘little presents’ for her. Like Lapwood, he’s Cambridge-based.

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