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Kaiser Chiefs stars back Newcastle's new music therapy centre

By Kris Jepson

Members of one of Britain's biggest bands visited Newcastle to break the ground of the city's new music therapy centre.

The Kaiser Chiefs stars, Ricky Wilson and Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines, appeared at the the former matron's lodge at Newcastle's Fleming Hospital in Jesmond to officially mark the start of the development of the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Centre.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

The centre, which is the first of its kind outside of London, will use music therapy primarily to help children and young people from across the region and has been supported by the Graham Wylie Foundation.

I went to see the one in London and I was inspired by it, so the Kaiser Chiefs came along last year after the Great North Run to start the fundraising and since then, over the last 13 months, we've raised enough money to build this music therapy centre here.

– Graham Wylie, Graham Wylie Foundation

The musicians donned hard hats and high-vis jackets and were presented with spades to mark the formal groundbreaking of the centre, which will be completed by March next year.

Kaiser Chiefs Credit: ITV News

They told ITV News Tyne Tees they felt proud to support the initiative and hope it can help many young people in the North East.

Lead singer Ricky Wilson said "This has been built by a lot of people, just putting in their time and their effort and sometimes cold cash just to make this happen".

We've seen like the affects of music therapy and what it can do and I think we are sort of big believers in the way that it can connect with people who have been through trauma or have had a bad upbringing and who have had a difficult life. It can help reconnect in many ways that maybe medicine can't.

– Nick ‘Peanut’ Baines, The Kaiser Chiefs

Evie Whittaker, 18, from Eaglescliffe, was able to meet the stars at the site and posed for pictures with them.

The student was a talented singer, but when she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour last year, she had to have an emergency operation.

Evie Whittaker Credit: ITV News

The surgery left her paralysed down her left side and, tragically, unable to sing.

But through music therapy she has found a new lease of life and has even started to sing again.

It distracts you and helps you not to think about all your worries, so it's kind of like a mindfulness, like forgetting about your worries and just listening to the music.

– Evie Whittaker
Nordoff Robbins Centre Credit: ITV News