A disgraced teacher who pleaded guilty to sex offences involving children had previously been booked by Doncaster Council to play concerts for the mayor and representatives of The Queen, it has emerged.
Luke Cannon, who last week opened a new fish restaurant in Doncaster Market, earlier this week admitted three sex offences committed against two pupils who attended the South Yorkshire school that he worked at.
Yesterday, Doncaster Council said they were 'not aware' of the offences when Cannon was chosen to run their new £21,000 market stall, Cannons, which only opened last Tuesday.
Now it has emerged that Cannon, a well-known local jazz musician, had been previously booked by Doncaster Council and had performed for Mayor Ros Jones and representatives of the Queen. The bookings were made before Cannon's offences came to light earlier this week.
The disgraced businessman is part of a jazz ensemble called Blues Armada whose website states that the organisation provides "live music for weddings, parties and corporate events in the most prestigious venues throughout the UK and abroad."
The website also carries a glowing testimonial from Doncaster Council which reads: “As Manager of the Civic Office Team, representing the Civic Mayor of Doncaster, I have had the pleasure of engaging Blues Armada Music at events organised by Doncaster Council.
"These have included the Civic Mayor’s At Home Day and visits by representatives of the Queen, including the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and the High Sheriff.
"Luke has provided a musical performance on the piano, which has added a welcoming ambience to each occasion. I cannot recommend Luke highly enough, he gives a professional and consummate performance at a rate that belies his talent and provides value for money. I intend to use his services at further events linked to the Civic Mayor.”
It is not clear when the testimonial was posted on the website, which has been disabled since our story was published.
Cannon, who has also performed concerts with the Cusworth Singers and Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra as well as concerts at popular town centre restaurant Relish, was pictured performing for Mayor Ros Jones at a show in Doncaster in 2009. At the time she was civic mayor.
Yesterday, Doncaster Council issued a lengthy statement regarding their links with Cannon who admitted sending sexually explicit videos to pupils.
Cannon, 27, was sentenced to a community order and 125 hours of unpaid work during a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court where the court heard how he had committed the offences against a girl under the age of 16 and a boy over the age of 16 who attended the school he taught at.
Cannon of Sandcliffe Road, Wheatley Hills, opened a new business called Cannon's Seafood Bar and Delicatessen at Doncaster Market last week to a storm of publicity.
The council confirmed that they had invested some £21,759 in the new hot food outlet currently used by Cannon - but said they were only made aware of his offences after the Free Press published the story on Monday
David Wilkinson, Assistant Director of Trading and Property Services for Doncaster Council, said: “We were as surprised as everyone when these revelations came to light, and will be seeking to establish the full facts and undertake any necessary actions over the coming days and weeks.”
“The council was not aware of the offences committed by Mr Cannon until the information became public this week. We understand that the offences relate to his previous work in an educational establishment outside Doncaster.
“We can confirm that Cannon’s Sea Food Bar and Delicatessen has recently opened a new stall at Doncaster Market. In line with other commercial investments being undertaken by the council, and our market regeneration programme, the council invested £21,759 in development of the hot food outlet that is currently used by Cannon’s Sea Food Bar and Delicatessen. No payment has been made to Cannon’s Sea Food Bar and Delicatessen. The council owns the stalls and the equipment.
“We were as surprised as everyone when these revelations came to light, and will be seeking to establish the full facts and undertake any necessary actions over the coming days and weeks.”
The Blues Armada Music website describes the venture as "a Yorkshire based music agency founded and managed by Luke Cannon that provide excellence in live entertainment.
"At Blues Armada Music we only employ the UK’s best professional musicians who have studied their instrument to the highest level in UK Conservatoires and continue to maintain a successful career in the music industry."
"We can arrange one to one instrumental lessons for you with all our musicians and provide workshops and master-classes for schools and youth music centres."
The website has been disabled while Twitter and Facebook pages related to Cannons Seafood Bar and Blues Armada have also been deleted.