Music hub at derelict pub in Leeds teenager’s memory

Ben Manning.
Ben Manning.
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A boarded up and derelict pub could be transformed in to a community music centre in memory of a talented teenage musician from Leeds.

The family of 17-year-old Ben Manning, of Swillington, set up a charitable music foundation in his name following his death in 2011.

Now Ben’s Music Foundation has launched Project Wakefield in a bid to buy and restore the Grade-II listed former Wakefield Arms pub next to Kirkgate railway station in Wakefield. The charity has already been offered a £250,000 grant in principle from the Arts Council, but it needs to raise £10,000 in order to secure the money.

The charity teamed up with Benfield Toyota, who have donated a car to be raffled next summer to help raise more money.

Project Wakefield aims to transform the derelict pub into a music centre with classrooms, rehearsal studios, recording 
facilities and a live music lounge.

Ben’s brother Lee, the charity’s director, said: “From initial surveys we think the work will cost around £0.5m. The building is in a very bad state.

“But the council and the police are behind us all the way.”

It is hoped the centre will help create a gateway to the city as part of a £4.6m regeneration of Kirkgate area of Wakefield.

Police divers found Brigshaw High School pupil Ben Manning’s body in the River Calder near in Wakefield city centre in February 2011 following a 12-day missing person hunt.

Ben had failed to return home after a night out in Wakefield city centre on Friday January 29.

The talented teen had taught himself to play acoustic, electric and bass guitar and played with indie band Distorted Miles.

Ben’s Music Foundation works with schools to provide music training and equipment.

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