‘Campaign could inspire next generation of stars’

Jodie Prenger is backing The Gazette's campaign
Jodie Prenger is backing The Gazette's campaign

One of Blackpool’s best-loved musical stars is the latest name to throw her support behind The Gazette’s Give Us A Tune appeal.

As The Gazette launched its campaign for readers to help Blackpool Music Academy yesterday, stage star Jodie Prenger gave her backing to the appeal.

It’s a great campaign for Blackpool and all its future stars. I also think it’s a great way to learn a new skill and get involved in the community

She urged Fylde folk to support the project which hopes to provide 50 instruments to the Waterloo Road-based centre, as well as raise more than £20,000 to subsidise music lessons for the less fortunate.

The 35-year-old said: “I think to sum it up in one word would be ‘brilliant.’

“It’s a great campaign for Blackpool and all its future stars. I also think it’s a great way to learn a new skill and get involved in the community.

“Learning a new skill such as a musical instrument is, to pardon the pun, but another string to your bow.

“Picking up a new instrument may be daunting but it’s rewards are limitless.

“Blackpool may have its Illuminations, but I bet there will be some bright new musical stars flying the flag.”

For close to a decade Blackpool Music Academy has been helping children, teenagers, the disabled and the elderly learn to play musical instruments.

Thousands of pounds have been raised to support the academy as its tutors give students the chance to develop their creative talents.

But a decade on from opening, the academy needs help to continue teaching others.

It could be by donating unwanted musical instruments or donations of cash.

Music academy boss John Shaw, 67, wants to give a new generation of people the chance to develop their untapped musical talents.

And as stars including Danny Howard and Bobby Ball backed the appeal, Jodie, who won BBC television series ‘I’d Do Anything’ in 2008, said she was sure it could inspire a future generation of famous names.

She added: “I am 100 per cent sure, yes.

“I have glorious memories as a child going to watch shows in Blackpool with my family. It’s a great place to start.

“Take for example the show I’m currently in.

“Calamity Jane is an actor muso show, where all the instruments are played live on stage by the actors.

“I’ve learnt to play the ukelele, tinkle on the piano and even become a dab hand at the spoons.

“I’ve loved every minute of it. That’s why I urge anyone out there to donate their old instruments and let’s get Blackpool rocking and rolling.”

If the £20,000 is raised, it will help subsidise 10 classes of six musicians for a year, with lesson fees which normally cost £10 dropping to £4 per person.

Founded by Mr Shaw in 2006, and funded with Lottery cash, the Academy was created with the aim of making music accessible to people from all walks of life – young or old, experienced or novice.

Classes cover a range of instruments from the keyboard to the ukulele and no experience is necessary.

Now a community interest company and charity, the Academy’s members range from age 11 to 93.

Mr Shaw said: “It is great to have the backing of someone like Jodie as well as a few other famous faces.”

To donate to the Academy go to www.blackpoolmusicacademy.com or to provide a musical instrument call (01253) 695398.