Viola Beach to help young musicians thrive, six years after their tragic deaths

Young musicians in the North West will get unique opportunities to train and perform, in memory of the band Viola Beach.

The four-piece from Warrington - Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin - and their manager, Craig Tarry, died in a car crash in Sweden in 2016.

Sunday, 13 February, marks the sixth anniversary of the tragedy.

Now their self-titled debut album has been re-released as a special rainbow-coloured vinyl and some of the proceeds will go towards helping musicians aged 11-18.

The rainbow vinyl reflects the multi-coloured umbrellas the band became posthumously known for Credit: Fuller Bean Records

The River Reeves Foundation, started by the guitarist's family in his memory, will donate their share of the record's sales to the Royal Northern College of Music.

The funds will go towards the college's new Young Artists programme, giving new and unheard pop talent the opportunity to be mentored, rehearse, record and perform at its Manchester campus.

The guitarist was 19 when he died alongside his bandmates and their manager Credit: The River Reeves Foundation

Ben and Sharon Dunne, River's father and step-mother, said their "most precious memories" of were of him "making music and performing."

They added: "We want the world to know that through the music, River along with his bandmates and manager will continue to live on in all our lives."

Opportunities for young pop musicians will be created at the RNCM in Manchester Credit: RNCM

The RNCM's Principal, Professor Linda Merrick described the new programme as "hugely exciting" and one which will "support and inspire brilliant musicians, song writers and producers."

The college, Prof Merrick said, "cannot wait to work with these young people and help them to take the next steps on their musical journey.

"We know there is incredible talent right on our doorstep."