Music world comes together to help save Leeds learning disability band Ultimate Thunder

  • ITV News Calendar's Jonathan Brown reports on the rock group Ultimate Thunder's appeal for help to keep their musical dreams alive

A rock group from Leeds which was stripped of funding from their supporting charity ahead of their second album release is calling on the public to help them keep playing.

All but one member of the six-piece, experimental post-punk band, Ultimate Thunder, has a learning disability.

The group rely on financial support to continue performing - in particular to pay for the support workers and equipment needed.

Until now these necessities have been paid for by charitable grants.

The band has been going for more than a decade and has provided a creative outlet for its members.

Scott Anderson, the band's drummer said: "It's rock music and and we’re playing and we’re really, really good."

Kenneth Stainburn, Bassist, said he likes it when people are "cheering and clapping" and they are "enjoying" themselves.

"I don't get nervous about the music," Alex Sykes, keyboard player said adding "but I do play the right tune."

Their music has so far spawned two studio albums - the single from their first, brought comparisons with legendary bands like The Fall.

Leeds arts charity Pyramid secured Arts Council funds for their as yet unreleased second record - but the money has run out.

With all rehearsals and future gigs on hold, a crowdfunding page has been launched and it has already raised more than £14,000.

Music producer James Mabbet said:“It’s hit a chord with people they see how hard these guys are trying and effort out in and want to help and it’s a wonderful heartwarming thing to happen."

James Hill, Director, of Pyramid said anyone who donates is "making a difference" adding "It's unlocking that potential."

It has also attracted support from fellow artists like Leeds band Yard Act who has shared it online as well as Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess.

He recorded a special message for the band saying he had been listening to their first album and offered them the chance to play on stage with him at music and arts festival Kendal calling which takes place in the Lake District.

But their biggest supporters, their families, are already making plans for the summer.

Maire Sykes, Alex's mum said: "It’s something I’d never have expected to be doing when Alex was born 38 years ago.

"It shows what people with learning disabilities are capable of."

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