Craigmillar is one of the poorest areas of Edinburgh. The CFS started in 1962, when she famously asked a headmaster of the local primary school if her son could be taught to play the violin. His reply was that "it took the teachers all their time to teach these children the 3 Rs". This reply angered her and the local mothers group who went off and started a festival (with the help of this headmaster) which grew to international acclaim.
She was awarded an MBE in 1978, and an honorary doctorate by Heriot-Watt University in 1992, and she is part of The Edinburgh Women of Achievement trail. Her book "Let The People Sing" has been sold and studied in many countries. Her son, Dr. Andrew Crummy, is chairman of the Prestongrange Arts Festival and the Three Harbours Festival.