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Legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr gives lucky schoolboy busker a £1,000 cash grant

Legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr gives lucky schoolboy busker a £1,000 cash grant after seeing him play covers of the band’s songs

  • 12-year-old John Denton went viral after busking on the streets of Manchester
  • Marr met John during a signing event at Manchester’s Piccadilly Records store
  • A schoolboy busker has caught the eye of The Smiths’ legendary guitarist, Johnny Marr, after the charming young man covered one of the band’s songs.

    John Denton’s performances in the streets of Manchester stopped shoppers in their tracks, while videos of his finger-picking skills went viral on social media.

    The 12-year-old’s talents have now been recognised by guitarist and songwriter Marr, who helped select him for a £1,000 grant that was created in his name.

    John, who started playing guitar aged eight, has already graced the stage of Salford Lads Club, used as a backdrop for The Smith 1986 album, The Queen is Dead.

    And he went on to meet Marr at a signing event at Manchester’s Piccadilly Records store, where John eagerly asked him for advice about forming a band.

    Schoolboy John Denton, 12, went to meet Johnny Marr at a signing event at Manchester’s Piccadilly Records store, where John eagerly asked him for advice about forming a band

    He has since created his own group called ‘The Height’ – named after an area in Salford near where he lives – with their first single released just before Christmas.

    John’s dad Phil Denton said his boy would be using the money to fund music lessons and help with future performances.

    He 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 is incredibly grateful to Johnny and the Salford Foundation Trust who have provided this opportunity.

    ‘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.’

    Legend Johnny Marr added: ‘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.’

    Legendary guitarist for The Smiths, Johnny Marr, awarded young John Denton with a £1000 grant after meeting him at a signing event in Manchester

    John's dad Phil Denton said his boy would be using the money to fund music lessons and help with future performances

    John’s dad Phil Denton said his boy would be using the money to fund music lessons and help with future performances

    John was selected for the ‘Johnny Marr Award’ by a panel from the Salford Foundation Trust, a local charity which supports talented young people in the city.

    The prize will run for three years, selecting another young musician from Salford for financial assistance annually.

    Peter Collins CBE, from The Salford Foundation Trust, 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.’

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