Salford schoolboy gets help from Smiths legend Johnny Marr to make music dream

Video report from ITV Granada correspondent Tim Scott

A schoolboy who started busking in a city centre is hoping to make his music dreams come true - after being given help by Smiths legend Johnny Marr.

Videos of aspiring singer John Denton, 12, have attracted thousands of views across social media as he covered songs by classic Manchester bands including The Smiths while playing to shoppers on the city's Market Street.

Now the Smiths songwriter is returning the compliment after the Salford schoolboy became the first recipient of his new funding award for young musicians.

John, from Salford, was selected for funding by the charity The Salford Foundation Trust, which operates the Johnny Marr Award to support talented youngsters in the city.

The young guitarist has been given £1,000 funding to pay for extra singing and guitar lessons.

John’s dad Phil said: “John’s ambition is to have a career in music. He will be using the funding to have music lessons to help both his guitar playing and his singing.

“In these tough times it’s a massive help and means that he can progress in his passion.

“Music is not a hobby for John but just who he is and a creative outlet he hopes to enjoy for the rest of his life."

He added: “It is a real privilege to get this award and he is determined to make the very most of the opportunity he has been given.”

The award in Marr's name recognises young musical talent in Salford Credit: Fraser Taylor

John started playing guitar at eight-years-old when he received one as a Christmas present.

He has now played gigs around his home town, including at Salford Lads Club - where his hero Johnny Marr posed with The Smiths for a photo used for their album 'The Queen Is Dead' in 1986.

The pair have already met before at a Piccadilly Records event for the release of Marr's new album 'Fever Dreams Pts 1-4'. John asked the music legend for advice about forming a band.

Using his advice, John started a band called ‘The Height’ - named after an area in Salford near where he lives. The group released their first single just before Christmas.

Johnny Marr said: “It’s a pleasure and privilege to give some assistance to a young musician especially when they’re as dedicated as John. Well done brother."

Peter Collins CBE, from The Salford Foundation Trust who help fund the award, said: “There couldn’t be a more worthy recipient of the Johnny Marr Award.

"Even though John is only 12 he’s already proven he’s committed to making a future in music and we’re delighted the Trust can give him a helping hand on this journey.”

The Johnny Marr Award runs for three years and will pick another young musician from Salford each year for financial assistance.

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